World Finals: Federer Reaches Semi Finals
World No. 2 Roger Federer qualified for the eighth time in nine appearances in World Tour Finals semi finals. The Swiss passed Robin Soderling in straight sets to finish the group B top spot with three wins and no loss. Federer beat the Swede 7-6(5), 6-3 to become, at least for the moment, Finals title favorite. On contrast, Soderling who lost for the second time at O2 in London waits now for Andy Murray’s performance against David Ferrer as both of them may go to 2-1 in the group. The 29-year-old Swiss needed on hour and 28 minutes to secure a place into the last four round.
With Soderling to serve, Roger claimed his first break on Swede’s second service in the first set. Thus, the four-time winner of the WTF went 2-1 to claim the second game for 3-1, as well. The match went head-to-head until the eighth game of the opening when Soderling gave his first sign of danger. He broke Federer for 4-4 to win even the next one. With Roger hitting a tremendous back hand, the Swiss succeeded to remain in set as he won his service to send the meeting 5-5. Both won their own serves as the game entered tie-break. But things wouldn’t look different. Although Federer won the first mini-break, the Swede kept up with him until the last moment. Finally, Roger left his older opponent, whom he defeated 15 times in 16 meetings, to five and claim the first set uneasily.
The second set, or better said the first seconds of the second set saw the Swede going to break-points, but which he couldn’t convert as Roger, with a bit of luck, won the first game after official-review that went in his favor after a long cross down the line. But still, Soderling always played close to Roger. Once again, the two went close to each other until the eighth game where the Swiss broke for 5-3. Nothing could steal his victory since. Roger served for match and claimed it.
Federer finishes the group B with the sheet clean, beating David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling, who came in London as a main threat for the main favorites Nadal and Roger, but who leaves the Finals earlier or at least more disappointed than he would expect. Said Roger: “I’m happy I was able to come out today and play a good, tough, solid match against a player who I thought was in good shape. I purposely didn’t want to know the calculations before today’s match, whereas I was in the loop very clearly what I kind of needed to do last year, which I think played on my mind a little bit.”
Indeed, the great shape he’s in may scare Nadal himself. Furthermore, the Swiss is playing again his best tennis, proving thus that his era has not come to an end yet. He won 21 tie-breaks this season of 31, showing once gain a high ability of claiming the most important points. On contrast, Roger also lost few games this year in which he had match-points.
Robin Soderling declared at the end of the game that whoever plays Roger, this must have a bit of luck to pass him, the Swede considering himself as unlucky in Thursday’s game. Not only did he play a super tennis by hitting winner after winner, but also he thundered 11 aces in what was to become Swiss’s 63rd win of the season. Although he won just four tournaments in 2010, Roger maintained among the first in ATP rankings to reach many superior phases. Having a very promising start when he triumphed at the Australian Open, Roger had to wait seven month for his next title. Thus, he won in Cincinnati, Stockholm and Basel, last occasion earlier this month, while Soderling, who is about to finish the year fourth seeded, won in Rotterdam and the Paris Masters that preceded the World Finals. The 26-year-old Swede is to end the season with a match-record of 57-22, but with biog regrets of losing for the second time in a row Roland Garros’s final as he has never claimed a major.
Bryan’s reach semis in doubles
Former world No. 1 pair Mike and Bob Bryan qualified for the last four (or eight) after beating Leander Paes / Lukas Dlouhy 6-3, 6-4to finish their group A with a 2-1 score. The win was the 63rd one for the Americans this season as they were presented Fans’ Favorite Award by ATP. Bryans broke for the first time in the sixth game to go 4-2 in the opening which they finally finished in almost half an hour. They also recorded an outstanding 100 percent of the first serve to win in the same time 20 points of 25 on their service.
The second game looked and was easier for the two brothers to claim. Thus, Dlouhy was broke right in the opening game of the second term, the Czech-Indian pair losing more pace since. As for Bryans, they didn’t lose any game on their service as they broke the two up for the next season. Dlouhy and Paes will start looking for other partners starting with 2011.
Paes admitted that had faced over the last couple of days fever and sore throat as he caught cold as this could be seen in Thursday’s loss which sent him home, but confirmed that it is always tough playing against world’s number one Bryans. In the end, the Indian revealed that he will pair Mahesh Bhupathi for the Australian Open in January, while the Czech confirmed he’ll team up Haul Hanley.
As for the other game from the same first group, Mariusz Fyrstenberg / Marcin Matkowski finish top spot with a 3-0 record as they overcame Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 7-6(7) whom they also sent home, the Austro-German team finishing 1-2. Fyrstenberg / Matkowski plays for the fourth time the Finals as they reached the last four round for the second time. It’s been the most crucial game for the Polish pair. Despite a poor start into the second set, which saw the winners led 2-0, the two Polish came from behind to rally through 5-3, but immediately lost pace as Melzer / Petzschner rearranged things. Thus, they got even one game closer for a set level that could bring them qualification, as well. Finally, they couldn’t manage any of the set points they had when led 6-5.
This year’s Eastbourne grass winners Matkowski and Fyrstenberg are the second favorites for the Finals as they reached other four finals throughout the season, including Vienna, Shanghai, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.
Other four matches are scheduled to take place on Friday which is also the last day that will name also the rest of the semi finalists. Group’s B leaders Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic meet foot of the table Luaksz Kubot / Oliver Marach, while Mahesh Bhupathi / Max Mirnyi will dispute the second place against Wesley Moodie / Dick Norman, both teams having won and conceded one match each.
In the singles Rafa Nadal will try to cement his top spot by playing Tomas Berdych who just beat Andy Roddick, while the American will face Novak Djokovic who must fight for his second place with the Czech. Nadal is 2-0 while Roddick is 0-2 with almost zero chances to qualify into the semis.11