Saturday, November 09, 2013

Federer-Nadal XXXII: Semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer took a significant step towards rehabilitating his 2013 season by winning a tough showdown with Juan Martin del Potro for the very last slot in the semifinals of the ATP World our Finals in London today. Despite being down a break in every single set, the Swiss great fought back to win two sets and earn the right to play World #1 Rafael Nadal for the 32nd time in their careers.

Federer won his match with del Potro 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5. After coming back in the second set to force a tie-break which he won, Federer was broken early in the 3rd set and was down 0-3 when I woke up this morning and started watching the match. Maybe it was a happy coincidence, but from that moment, Federer won 3 consecutive games to even the match and when earned his opportunity to break at 15-40 in the 11th game, he seized it and served out the match with style, saving a break point and ending with an ace.

Federer improved his career head-to-head record to 15-5 against del Potro and got revenge for the second time in as many weeks for losing to the Argentine in his hometown final of Basel. It was also the 11th time in 12 consecutive appearances that Federer has qualified for the semifinals of the tournament, with his one gap being 2008.

He will play his arch-nemesis Nadal, who although he has a 21-10 overall head-to-head edge over Federer is 0-4 at the year-end-championships, which is played on indoor hard courts. Frankly, Nadal has never done well at this tournament, having only reached the final once before. On hard courts, Nadal now leads 7-6 thanks to wins earlier this year on the surface at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the ATP Masters in Cincinnati during his unprecedented hard court winning streak which saw him capture his 2nd US Open crown. Nadal is not playing his best tennis, and neither is Federer, but I believe that Federer will find a way to win this match tomorrow in order to reach the final again and have a chance (theoretically) to win his 7th year-end championship.

In the other semifinal, surprisingly is another Swiss player, Stanislas Wawrinka playing in the year-end championships for the first time. He is facing Novak Djokovic, who is on a 19-match winning streak and will almost certainly beat Richard Gasquet later today and Wawrinka tomorrow in order to reach the final where he can defend his year-end championship from 2012. Wawrinka and Djokovic played two of the best hardcourt matches of the year in Melbourne and New York but the Serbian has a crushing 14-2 edge in their head-to-head and dismissed Wawrinka in two lopsided sets on his way to winning the ATP Paris Masters last week.

MadProfessah's Pick: Federer-Djokovic final (won by Djokovic).

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin