Federer victorious in battle of generations
LONDON: Roger Federer marched into the semifinals at the ATP Finals once again yesterday but he made hard work of the task before finally prevailing 76 (86), 57, 61 in a highquality battle of the generations with German Alexander Zverev.
The 36yearold sixtime champion may have been giving away 16 years to the youngster fancied to be the game’s next major force but Federer proved in a dominant third set that, for the moment, he still remains a cut above his young pursuers.
The triumph in two hours and 11 minutes ensured the 19time grand slam champion booked a place in the last four for the 14th time in 15 appearances and with the tournament still only three days old.
It also meant Zverev and Jack Sock will now meet tomorrow to decide the other qualifier from the Boris Becker group.
Sock earlier lived up to his childhood nickname of ‘‘Showtime’’ by producing a dramatic comeback to triumph 57, 62,
76 (74) over the erratic
Marin Cilic, who is now eliminated after two straight defeats.
World No 2
Federer looks even more of an overwhelming favourite for a seventh crown in the absence of Rafael Nadal, who has pul
led out injured from the tournament.
‘‘It sounds great,’’ Federer told the O2 Arena crowd after being told of his record of 14 semifinal appearances.
He had high praise for 20yearold Zverev, too, after being tested for two fierce sets before finally dismantling the increasingly wearylooking world No 3.
‘‘I’m very excited for his future. He’s a wonderful guy and a great, great player.’’
‘‘I’m very relieved. It was a good battle,’’ Federer said.
‘‘I was trying to put a lot of balls into play. There was a lot of defence from me tonight. But it paid off; I’m extremely happy.
‘‘To be through in two matches is great. There is always a lot at stake when you play the top guys.
‘‘I’ll be going out there to win, of course [but] I can now play freely in the last match [against Marin Cilic].’’
With no classic Nadal clash on the horizon, the duel between Federer and Zverev, who had shared the spoils in their previous four meetings, was the most eagerly anticipated of the week and it did not disappoint.
It evidently felt satisfying for Federer to beat one of the game’s new comets. Asked if he could remember his first ATP Finals, he smiled: ‘‘It’s so long ago I hardly remember it!’’ — Reuters
Teamwork . . . New Zealander Michael Venus (left) and American Ryan Harrison celebrate a point during their doubles win over Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and PierreHugues Herbert at the ATP Tour Finals in London yesterday. Venus and Harrison won 67, 64, 105.