Halle, June 22: Roger Federer cruised through to the Halle Open final with a ruthless victory over Andy Murray's new Wimbledon doubles partner.
Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a grand slam winner in doubles who was targeting the ultimate grass-court singles scalp, proved no match for the Swiss master and fell to a 6-3 6-3 defeat.
The convincing win sets up a title match on Sunday against Belgian David Goffin, with Federer looking to make up for losing in the final to Borna Coric 12 months ago.
Federer will be targeting a 10th Halle title, which would make him just the second male player, after Rafael Nadal, to secure double-figure singles trophy wins at any tournament.
He snatched a break of the Herbert serve in the second game to seize immediate control of the opening set. The 37-year-old then pounced on a break-point opening in the seventh game of the next set, moving his feet well to create the space to pound a forehand down the line.
Victory was confirmed by another break, this time Federer wrong-footing Herbert with a cross-court forehand.
Federer told Tennis TV: "It's great. I thought it was a very solid performance from me. I didn't struggle on serve and I had my opportunities on the return and was able to take them.
"I was able to find some good energy today, especially in the important moments. It was maybe exactly what I needed going into the finals now."
Herbert was this week confirmed to play with Murray on the Briton's Wimbledon return after injury. The Alsace-born 28-year-old won the Wimbledon men's doubles alongside Nicolas Mahut three years ago.
In the first Halle semi-final, Matteo Berrettini's eight-match winning run on grass came to an end when last week’s champion in Stuttgart fell to Goffin, edged out 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.
Goffin earned a first tour final appearance since he was runner-up at the 2017 ATP Finals in London, where he defeated Federer in the semi-finals for his lone win in their eight past meetings.