Fed­erer through to ATP Fi­nals semis af­ter win over Zverev

The Day - - SPORTS - By SAM JOHNSTON

Lon­don — A day af­ter the ATP Fi­nals lost Rafael Nadal to in­jury, Roger Fed­erer lifted spir­its at the O2 Arena by ex­tend­ing his stay to the week­end.

The 19-time Grand Slam cham­pion guar­an­teed his place in Satur­day's semi­fi­nals by de­feat­ing Alexan­der Zverev 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-1 on Tues­day.

With No­vak Djokovic and Andy Mur­ray also ab­sent due to in­juries, the top-ranked Nadal's with­drawal on Mon­day left Fed­erer as the only mem­ber of men's ten­nis' 'big-four' in the tour­na­ment.

"It was nice to be able to show maybe that qual­ity of mine, that I can dig out these matches, these points time and time again, stay men­tally tough," Fed­erer said. "In the third I started to play bet­ter. It was a tough match from the be­gin­ning till the end."

Zverev, who won his open­ing match against Marin Cilic, will face Jack Sock on Thurs­day to de­cide who will join Fed­erer in the final four. Sock de­feated Cilic in the early match, with Fed­erer's vic­tory elim­i­nat­ing the Croat.

"It was a very pos­i­tive match," Zverev said. "Ob­vi­ously he won it. He's in the semi­fi­nals. But even for me, I played the bet­ter match of the two to­day. I think I still have great chances of qual­i­fy­ing, play­ing Jack Sock next. I think if I con­tinue hav­ing this level, I don't know, maybe you'll see me on the week­end still."

Af­ter an open­ing set dom­i­nated by serve went to a tiebreak, Fed­erer came from 4-0 down and saved a set point to take the lead.

His grip on the match quickly tight­ened as a dis­tracted Zverev made two dou­ble faults to gift a break in the open­ing game of the sec­ond set.

How­ever, the 20-year-old re­gained his poise and took ad­van­tage of a dip in Fed­erer's first serve per­cent­age to break back and then re­peated the feat to force a de­cid­ing set.

From there on it was all Fed­erer. The six-time cham­pion, who is 16-years older than his op­po­nent, showed his big-match ex­pe­ri­ence as he re­grouped to break in the third game, be­fore do­ing so twice more to seal the vic­tory.

Sock's 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) vic­tory was the United States' first at the event in 10 years.

The No. 8-seed, who seized qual­i­fi­ca­tion by win­ning the final Mas­ters event of the sea­son in Paris, lost his de­but match to Fed­erer, but he is now 1-1.

While oth­ers might have been sur­prised at Sock be­com­ing the first Amer­i­can to win at the elite sea­son-end­ing event since Andy Rod­dick in 2007, the man him­self wasn't.

"I wouldn't be out here play­ing, com­pet­ing if I didn't think I could give my­self a chance to win tour­na­ments, to be here," Sock said.

"I'm not the type of guy that will just en­ter a draw and be happy to make the third round or the quar­ters or what­ever. I'm here to win matches. I think if I do the right things and I play the right ten­nis, I can give my­self a chance to play on the week­end of any tour­na­ment."

Cilic has now won only one of his eight matches over­all at the sea­son-end­ing tour­na­ment.

"Def­i­nitely not a great record, but I felt that I played even well last year," Cilic said. "In those three matches that I played, I had good chances at least to win. These two also. So just, you know, cou­ple points away from clos­ing those matches. A lit­tle bit un­for­tu­nate with that."

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