Zverev Reaches Final, Defeating Federer in Semifinal Clash – Roger Federer’s 2018 season came to a close Saturday afternoon, as third seeded Alexander Zverev edged out a semifinal win over the Swiss maestro, 7-5 7-6 (5) in 1 hour 35 minutes. He is the first German to make the finals of the ATP Finals since Boris Becker in 1996. Play remained on serve into the late stages of the opening set, where Zverev found himself up 6-5. Behind three well-connected returns, the 21-year-old German went on to break Federer’s serve at love to take the first set. Despite Federer’s early break in the second set for a 2-1 lead, he was unable to maintain serve, only making one first serve in the fourth game, and getting broken at 15-40. The match carried on into a tiebreak, but at 4-5, Federer missed a routine volley to give Zverev two match points. Although he saved one, the German claimed one of the biggest wins of his career on the second, behind a big first serve.
Federer finished the match with three aces, no double faults, winning 78% of points on his first serve and 61% of points on his second serve. The 37-year-old Swiss hit 13 aces and 20 unforced errors. He won 17 of 22 points at net, and converted one of three break point opportunities. Looking back on his 2018 season, it was a historic one. While Federer finished the season with a less than stellar 48-10 record, he won four titles, and reclaimed the world #1 ranking back in February, extending his record to 310 weeks. He has raised his total title count to 99 career titles. The biggest title of Federer’s 2018 was his 20th grand slam, which he claimed by winning his sixth Australian Open. It was the first time he won back to back grand slams (also won 2017 Australian Open) since winning both the Australian Open and Wimbledon back to back in 2006 and 2007.