Federer Comprehensively Defeats Anderson, Books Spot in Semifinals – Despite not starting the week in the way he would have liked, Roger Federer still managed to finish #1 in his group for the 14th time at the ATP Finals. The Swiss maestro defeated Kevin Anderson comprehensively, 6-4 6-3, to book his spot in the semifinals. It is the 15th time Federer has reached the semifinals or further, in his 16 appearances at the year-end grand finale. The 37-year-old Swiss served three aces to one double fault, winning 79% of points on his first serve and 62% of points on his second serve. He saved three of four break points faced and converted four of six break point opportunities.
With the round robin format of the group stage at the ATP Finals, Federer’s scenario to advance to the semifinals required him to win six games or more Thursday night in London. With Dominic Thiem’s win over Kei Nishikori, the 29-year-old Japanese player was eliminated from contention. The 20-time grand slam champion clinched his spot by winning the first set, and finished atop his group with the win over 6’8″ tall Anderson from South Africa.
Federer will await the outcome of Friday’s matches between Alexander Zverev and John Isner, and Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic. By finishing #1 in Group Lleyton Hewitt, he will face Group Gustavo Kuerten’s #2 finisher. Kevin Anderson finishes #2 in Group Lleyton Hewitt, and will face the winner (#1) of Group Gustavo Kuerten in Saturday’s semifinals.
“We’re used to you lose, you leave and you don’t hang around. So from that standpoint, I think it was more straightforward for me today,” Federer said on court after his win. “I’ve always wanted to go out with a bang today and win the match. If I go through, great, if I don’t well I don’t deserve to be through and that’s okay, too. I’m happy I’m still alive.”
“Unfortunately I had a rocky service game myself after that [first service break. I didn’t let that frustrate me or disappoint me. I kept on plugging away, kept on trying,” Federer said. “I think my attitude was good today. I think I had an aggressive playing mindset, a good variation as well with my slice. I think it was just a good match from my side.”
“I’m very happy. First match was tough against Kei, never got going. And with the back against the wall, maybe it’s easier for me to play, I’m not sure. But I fought hard,” Federer said. “In the end, I played some good tennis today and I’m very happy. Kevin’s had a wonderful year, and so have the other two guys. It’s been a fun group, with many different kinds of players in the group. I’m thrilled. Thanks for the support, of course, and I’m excited to be in the semis.”