It took 2.5 hours, but Federer beat Gilles Simon in three sets to move into the Swiss indoor semifinals.
BASEL, Switzerland — Roger Federer was pushed hard to beat Gilles Simon 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 in the Swiss Indoors quarterfinals on Friday.
Top-seeded Federer clinched after more than 2-1/2 hours, breaking Simon's serve when the 32nd-ranked Frenchman sent a backhand long from the baseline.
Federer puffed out his cheeks in a gesture of relief when taking the applause from his hometown crowd in Basel, where he seeks a ninth career title.
In the first set won by Federer, Simon failed to hold serve at 5-3 up and held a set-point chance before the tiebreaker.
Federer next plays the winner of Friday's late match between fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and seventh-seeded Daniil Medvedev.
Earlier, second-seeded Alexander Zverev beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-3.