Roger Federer Fights Past Alexander Zverev to Qualify for Semis of ATP Finals
(November 14, 2017) Roger Federer qualified for his 14th semifinal at the ATP Year-End event on Tuesday when he fought past Alexander Zverev 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-1 in London’s O2 Arena.. The Swiss is now 2-0 in round-robin play in the Boris Becker group. He’ll play his last match of the round-robin stage on Thursday against Marin Cilic, a re-match of the Wimbledon final.
Zverev will take on Jack Sock, who beat Cilic earlier in the day.
No. 2 Federer is going for record extending seventh ATP Finals title in the 15th time he’s qualified for this event.
Federer missed out on set points on the German’s serve late in the first set and had to rally from 0-4 down in the first set tiebreak to win it.
The 36-year-old could not hold on to his early 2-0 lead in the second set and the 20-year-old came back to level the match. It was all Federer in the third breaking the German’s serve three times.
“Still early days 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,” said Federer. “In the third I started to play better. It was a tough match from the beginning till the end.”
“I think I was able to read his forehand this time better than Montreal, where he had a lot of winners forehand and backhand.”
“But today I think I was able to stay the course and, you know, use my slice quite effectively, then try with variation to go into his forehand.
“But, you know, you can’t always do it because the plays don’t always allow you to do it. I wasn’t doing a good enough job, to be quite honest, into his backhand with my backhand. I was always checking out of the backhand-to-backhand battles, switching it up to the forehand. I would like to stay more with him backhand to backhand.
“Like I said, you know, there was a lot of chipping going on on the return. I would have liked to stay more aggressive on my return, at least, and something could have happened.
“But I felt like, especially in the first set, I was going through phases where I was hardly making any returns. That’s something I was not going to accept. I was going to rather lose by making a lot of balls and maybe give him a chance at least to miss rather than just giving him empty free games time and time again.
“So I think it was a tough match, you know, I think for both of us. We had some good moments, some tougher moments. I mean, he blew the first set tiebreak. Got lucky to get into it maybe. I was up a set and a break. So I was frustrated that I didn’t win the second set.
“At the end probably being in the third set for both of us was maybe a fair result, I’m not sure.”
“I mean, it’s always very important to keep playing I think against every opponent,” Zverev said. “I’d say I’ve done a good job of getting back into the match, winning the second set. Of course, the third set was a little bit upsetting by letting go a little bit too early.
“But as I said, it was a pretty positive match. I think we both played pretty well. I feel very confident going into the (Jack)Sock match.”
“I think he played a very good game to break me,” said the world No. 3 in regard to the opening game of the third set. “Then I lost a little bit concentration after that.
“But, look, all in one, I think it was a very positive match. 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.”
“I’ve played Roger now six times. We’re 3-All now, if you count the Hopman Cup match. I mean, as I said, it was a great match.
“He’s the best player of all time. He’s always going to find a way to try to disturb your rhythm a little bit and try to win.”
Jack Sock’s 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) win was the United States’ first victory at this event in 10 years. Sock, who was the last man to qualify, could care less about being the first American in the Year-end since Andy Roddick in 2007.
“I really don’t care about that stuff,” said Sock to media. “I don’t know, the No. 1 American, first American to do this since whenever. I just go out, I like to go out, have fun, compete. The stats and all that are what they are.
“I’ve been talking to Mardy (Fish) since I’ve been here. He told me to enjoy it. I know he was the last guy here. I didn’t even know if he’d won a match or not.
“That’s news to me. Yeah, going out there and enjoying the moment.”
“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.”