ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Roger Federer stood one match away from his first claycourt title in three years after reaching the final of the inaugural Istanbul Open with a 2-6 6-2 7-5 win over Argentine eighth seed Diego Schwartzman on Saturday.
The top seed fired six aces as he advanced to his fourth ATP final of the year and the 128th of his career.
The Turkish crowd backed world number two Federer throughout the match, even when he was handed a code violation for angrily hitting the ball away as he lost the first set.
“I had a slow start maybe, yesterday was tough so it took me a little bit of time,” said Federer, who also needed three sets to reach the semi-final.
“I am still here, I am hitting the ball well. I am playing against opponents who have nothing to lose. As long as I find a way to win it’s great.”
Federer will face third seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in the final on Sunday. Cuevas beat Bulgarian second seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-4 in the second semi-final.
Federer last won on clay in 2012 at the Madrid Masters when the tournament was played on a slick blue clay surface.
Reporting by Ece Toksabay, editing by Gene Cherry