first_imgRoger Federer, who must win a record-extending 10th title in Halle to remain at the top of the world rankings, saved two match points to avoid an upset against France’s Benoit Paire and reach the quarter-finals of the Halle Open.Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion and world number one, was made to work hard by the world number 48 before winning 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7) on Thursday.Federer dropped a set for the first time in six meetings against the erratic Frenchman as the pair fought out a gripping two-hour duel.The 36-year-old Swiss extended his winning run on grass to 18 matches as he continues a serene build-up to his title defence at Wimbledon next month but after easing through the first set found Paire in one of his more inspired moods.The 36-year-old Federer missed two match points to wrap up victory without the need for a tie-break in the final set.Also read – Federer celebrates No.1 crowning with 98th title at Stuttgart OpenHe faces Australian Matthew Ebden, competing in Halle at a career high ranking of 60, rallied from a set down to beat local hope Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6 6-1 6-2 and will face Federer for the first time in his career in the last eight.He closed out the first set with successive aces but Paire rallied to lead 4-0 and take the second.”I created quite a few opportunities, but maybe I was a bit tentative at times,” said Federer, whose victory was his 18th in succession on grass.advertisement”I was disappointed with my serve in the second set, being broken twice. That is not allowed to happen. I need to clean that up”.Victory in Halle would give Federer his 99th career title. He will begin the defence of his Wimbledon title on July 2.(With inputs from IANS and Reuters)