Federer makes Stockholm final, intends to tie Sampras

STOCKHOLM — Roger Federer could tie Pete Sampras for career titles after reaching the Stockholm Open final, defeating fourth-seeded Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (5), 6-2 Saturday.

Federer will face Florian Mayer in today's final. Mayer saved a match point to edge Jarkko Nieminen 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

A third title of the year for Federer will earn him the 64th of his career, matching Pete Sampras for fourth in the Open era. Only Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94) and John McEnroe (77) have won more singles tournaments since 1968.

"It's been a good a year when it comes to making the finals, but I don't have the best win-loss record this year," Federer said. "In the past I've had an amazing run. I think I won 24 straight finals at one stage, so this could be the start of the streak again."

He's 2-4 in finals this year, and coming off a loss in the Shanghai final last weekend.

Federer won his 50th match of the year on Friday, becoming only the fifth man, and the first since Sampras, to win 50 matches in at least nine straight years in the Open era.

Like in his quarterfinal against Stanislas Wawrinka, Federer started slowly. Ljubicic broke him in the third game. But Federer found his rhythm and rallied to win the tiebreaker, prompting Ljubicic to throw his racket in frustration.

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