London: Former world No 1 Roger Federer blew away already-qualified Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3 to book his place in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena here late on Thursday.
Going into the final qualifying round against Anderson, the scenario for Federer was quite complicated. But the Swiss ace threw away all these permutations out of the window with a win in straight sets to top Group Lleyton Hewitt along with his opponent from Johannesburg, South Africa.
This is the 15th time that Federer has advanced to the semi-finals out of his 16 appearances at this year-ending competition.
Dominic Thiem, who had kept alive his hopes for a spot in the semi-finals with an outright 6-1, 6-4 win over Kei Nishikori earlier in the afternoon, missed out on the second spot in the group with Anderson occupying that place.
With Novak Djokovic already assured of his spot as the Group Guga Kuerten leader, the runner-up and Federer’s opponent for Saturday will be decided following the last two encounters involving Alexander Zverev, John Isner and Marin Cilic later on Friday.
“I’m happy that this is another week like this and it didn’t look like it maybe 72 hours ago. But I was able to come back and play good tennis,” Federer said.
“I don’t know who going to be my next opponent. I’m happy that I’m raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do,” he added.
Federer got the first break in the seventh but then was broken back right away for 4-4. However, Federer broke back in the ninth and then saved three set points to win the set 6-4 in 38 minutes.
Already assured of his place in the last four, the 20-time Grand Slam winner looked back to near his best in the second set while playing nearer to the baseline and moving his lanky opponent around to get a measure of revenge for his Wimbledon quarter-final loss at the hands of Anderson four months back.
“These round-robin formats are not straightforward. We are used to it being you lose, you leave, you don’t hang around,” said Federer, who is now just two wins away from his 100th career title.
“Maybe it was difficult for Kevin having already qualified, whereas with Thiem winning it was maybe easier for me. But I’m happy I’m still alive and hope I can play a good match the day after tomorrow [Saturday],” he added.
(Singles) Dominic Thiem bt Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4; Roger Federer bt Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3.
(Doubles) Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares bt Henry Kontinen/John Peers 3-6, 7-6 (3), 1-0 (3); Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus bt Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
Order of Play (Friday)
4 pm Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic vs Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo; 6 pm Alexander Zverev vs John Isner; 9.45 pm Mike Bryan/Jack Sock vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut; 12 midnight Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic.
All times UAE