A step closer to No.1 spot

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Roger Federer moved to within one victory of becoming the oldest man to take the world No 1 ranking on Thursday with a hard-fought 7-6 (10/8), 7-5 victory over Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Rotterdam Open.

"Getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, nearly 37 years old is an absolute dream come true", Federer said. "I can't believe it".

Since Federer lost the top spot in 2012, when many predicted his best days were done, Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray have all had lengthy periods on the throne but whereas the clock ticks ever louder for that battle-ravaged trio, Federer appears to have found a new dimension.

Federer is nearly unbeatable when he is at his best and there are only two players who hold a better head-to-head record over the current world number two (having played five games or more against him) - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

On Monday, he will extend his record of 302 weeks at No 1 since the rankings began in 1973. American Pete Sampras managed 286. Novak Djokovic is the closest now active player, with 223 weeks at No. 1.

Federer is the oldest man or woman to be number one.

"Sometimes at the beginning you get there just because you play so well".

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"So this one maybe means the most to me throughout my career".

The final set saw Federer continue his dominance and three further breaks of serve helped the two-time Rotterdam champion over the winning line against a tiring Haase.

At the end of a hard-fought battle, Federer extended his ideal record over Kohlschreiber to 13-0, the 36-year-old chasing a third title at this ATP 500 event following successes in 2005 and 2012.

Haase nearly stopped Federer from attaining the historic goal, taking the first set 6-4, but the Swiss ace, rallied back ruthlessly to take the next two sets, 6-1, 6-1. Having previously not double-faulted once, Kohlschreiber doubled twice while serving to stay alive at 5-6 in the second set-including on match point.

Federer then broke Haase twice early in the third for 3-0, and swept to the victory.

Grigor Dimitrov, Andreas Seppi, David Goffin, Tomas Berdych, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev also reached the quarterfinals.