BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2012
Federer Records 70th Match Win Of 2012 To Book SF Final Berth In London
by James Buddell|
Second seed and two-time reigning champion Roger Federer beat 2007 runner-up David Ferrer, the fourth seed with an ATP World Tour-best seven titles this year, 6-4, 7-6(5) on Thursday in Group B to qualify for the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Federer improved to 2-0 in round robin play this week, with his 41st victory at the season-ending championships, after withstanding break-point pressure from Ferrer. It was his 70th match win of the season (70-10) and his 40th on a hard-court (40-5). The Swiss superstar remains on course to capture his season-ending seventh title and his 77th trophy, which would tie him at No. 3 in the all-time title leaders list with John McEnroe.
“This is a very special tournament in many ways,” said Federer, who is competing at the season-ending championships for an 11th time. “It's always been the tournament I wanted to be part of when I started playing at the beginning of the year, many years now. I had breakthrough results at this event. I learned a lot. I've loved everywhere I've played over the years at the [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals. But I think this one is obviously special, because it's in London and The O2 is an amazing venue. I'm happy it's going to stay here for the next few years.”
There were seven break point chances in the first three games over a 21-minute period. Ferrer failed to convert three in the opening game, Federer converted his first in the second game, as Ferrer struck a forehand long, while Ferrer failed on three occasions in game three. At 0-3, the writing was on the wall for Ferrer, but he won three successive games with a brand of tennis that has helped him compile 73 wins in a career-best year. But Federer raised the tempo in the 10th game with two powerful groundstrokes. At 4-5, 0/40, Ferrer mis-timed a backhand wide. Playing deep behind the baseline, it was his 13th error of the 49-minute set.
Afterwards, Federer admitted, "I think I definitely needed a good second serve, especially in the first set. But I think also, credit to him for being a great return player, getting back a lot of good returns on good serves. That makes you go for the extra special serve, and then you start missing by a little bit. Today, I had to use everything I had in terms of variation, kicking it, sliding it, going all different ways."
Both players lost just six point on serve through eight service games in the second set. Ferrer could not convert two break point chances in the opening game, as Federer produced an exquisite angled volley and lob volley to stay alive. At 5-6, Ferrer won four straight points from 0/30 to take the set to a tie-break. Federer, who received wolf-whistles for changing his shirt, returned refreshed and opened up a 4-2 lead in the tie-break. Well-placed serves moved Federer further ahead to 6-3. He snatched at a forehand on his first match point and Ferrer hit an unreturned serve on the second. But Federer soon celebrated his 14th straight win over Ferrer.
Federer, who beat Ferrer in one hour and 49 minutes, has remarkably won 29 of 32 sets in their meetings. He has now reached the season-ending semi-finals for the 10th time in 11 appearances.
Incredibly, he now has a 102-1 lifetime record against opponents aged 30 and over since losing to 31-year-old Andre Agassi at the Sony Open Tennis in March 2002. That came to 34-year-old Tommy Haas at this year's Gerry Weber Open final. Federer, 31, has not lost at The O2 in London since 2009 to Nikolay Davydenko, the eventual champion that year.
Ferrer, 30, who beat sixth seed and 2009 runner-up Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Tuesday, was made to pay for failing to convert his break point opportunities. He committed 24 unforced errors – 15 fewer than Federer. He drops to 73-15 overall this season.
Afterwards, Ferrer said, “It was a good match [and] I am happy with my game. I had a lot of chance to break his serve. When he had one break point, he made it. Sometimes with these players, if I don't take my chances, I don't win the important points [and] it is very difficult to win.”
The match was watched 17,011 spectators.