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Roger clinches semi spot
(Agencies) / 9 November 2012
Defending champion Roger Federer guaranteed his place in the last four of the ATP World Tour Finals with a straight-sets win over Spainís David Ferrer on Thursday.
The Swiss world number two, bidding for a seventh title at the end-of-season finale, dished out yet more punishment to Ferrer in a 6-4 7-6 victory at the O2, taking his career record over the tenacious Spaniard to 14-0.
Federer took a while to settle into his smooth rhythm, though, and Ferrer, who beat Juan Martin del Potro in his opening match, had numerous opportunities in the opening games of their Group B clash. Ferrer was 40-0 up on Federer’s opening service game but having failed to capitalise he was immediately broken himself.
At 0-3 world number five Ferrer could have been forgiven for feeling pessimistic about his prospects but he was rewarded for his endeavour with a break in the fifth game when Federer wafted a backhand wide.Having hauled himself back into the match Ferrer wavered at 5-6, however, allowing Federer to take the opening set.
Ferrer, darting around the court in his fluorescent lime green top, hung on to Federer’s coat tails in the second set to extend the Swiss maestro into a tiebreak.
Even when Federer moved 6-3 ahead, Ferrer refused to accept the seemingly inevitable, saving two match points but there was no escape as Federer clinched his place in the semi-finals with one round-robin match to spare.
Ferrer’s fate will be decided in the final round of group matches on Saturday when he faces Janko Tipsarevic.
Federer has now won his last 12 matches at the ATP World Tour Finals since losing to Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals when the tournament made its debut at the spectacular O2 Arena.
With two comfortable wins under his belt this year few would bet against him finishing his year on a high by clinching a hat-trick of titles here.
In the later Group B match, Tipsarevic was scheduled to face Del Potro with both players seeking a first win.
Earlier, India’s Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek booked their place in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals after defeating Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 7-5, 6-4.
Paes and Stepanek, seeded third, are the first doubles pair to qualify from Group A after winning both their matches without dropping a set at London’s O2 Arena.
They were pushed hard by the sixth seeds in a match lasting one hour and 31 minutes, twice having to come from a break down in the second set before eventually sprinting to the finish line with a barrage of winners.
Paes and Stepanek, who now have a dead rubber in their final match against top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, are making their first appearance together at the Tour Finals as they bid to end the Indian’s nightmare run in the final of the season-ending event.
Former doubles world number one Paes has been runner-up on four occasions, in 1997, 1999 and 2000 with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, and then in 2005 with Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic.
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