Fed­erer vic­to­ri­ous in bat­tle of gen­er­a­tions

Otago Daily Times - - SPORT -

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,...

Roger Fed­erer

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