Zverev gets the better of Federer in Halle

Nadal delighted with improvement on clay from Madrid to Rome during Tsitsipas win

Roger Federer's shaky form in the lead-up to Wimbledon continued as he went down in three sets to Germany's Alexander Zverev in the Gerry Weber Open semi-finals.

It's the biggest win of 19-year-old Zverev's career, and came in front of his home fans in Halle. Many have predicted a big future ahead for him.

The match lasted two hours and six minutes, and ended in a 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-3 victory for the German, who becomes the youngest player to beat Federer since 19-year-old Rafael Nadal's 2005 Roland Garros victory.

"I feel pretty good," said Zverev. "I played very good and served well once again. I think that helped me a little bit and I played well in the important moments. It’s unbelievable to get a win against Roger, especially on grass.

"It’s nice to get a win like that. It’s nice with that kind of match going into Wimbledon and obviously into the final here as well. Don’t forget that that is a very big match for me as well. We’ll see what happens tomorrow but I’m happy with my performance today."

Zverev was remarkably consistent on serve, dropping just four points in the first set and relinquishing just one break in the entire match – in the 11th game of the second set.

The World No 39 fired 14 winners during a first set which featured no breaks, and then stayed solid in the tie-break to convert his first set point after securing two mini-breaks.

Federer was able to respond in a tight second set, finally breaking Zverev's serve courtesy of a superb drop shot at 5-5, before holding on to level the scores at a set apiece.

The third set again came down to a single break, which went to Zverev in the sixth game after a mishit backhand from Federer, and the youngster didn't waver from there, remaining resolute on serve to hold off any chance of a Federer fightback.

Awaiting Zverev in the final is another German, Florian Mayer, who was a surprise 6-3, 6-4 winner over in-form Austrian Dominic Thiem, already a four-time winner on the ATP Tour this year.

At 32, Mayer is 13 years Zverev's senior.