Roger Federer rebounds to keep ATP Finals hopes alive

Reuters  Andrew Couldridge

Reuters Andrew Couldridge

Six-time champion Roger Federer put a troubled start to his 16th ATP Finals behind him as he outclassed Dominic Thiem 6-2 6-3 on Tuesday to stay on course for the knockout stage.

Narrowly avoiding just the second 6-0, 6-0 scoreline in tournament history, the 28-year-old Nishikori fell to his third loss in four meetings this year against the 32-year-old Anderson, ranked No. 6.

Nishikori was at a loss to explain his performance, saying: "I played one of the worst matches this year".

"There's gonna be some scary moments, I know that, so I do hope that the skill set from tennis comes into play in a big, big way today!"

Anderson was brimming with confidence, being nearly untouchable on serve and made some powerful returns followed by loads of pulsating groundstroke to steamroll the Japanese No. 1, serving him a nice bagel and taking the opening set 6-0.

A big key for the Swiss was his play on serve, as he did not face a single break point during the one-hour, seven-minute match and won 86 percent of his first-serve points and 81 percent of his second-serve points. You wait a whole year to play a match like that and it feels fantastic'.

Federer turned the screws to break again immediately in the second set and never looked in any danger.

New team tournament ATP Cup wins Djokovic’s approval
Teams from 24 countries will feature in the ATP Cup, which will be held at the start of the season across 10 days in Australia . The tournament is a recreation of the old ATP World Team Cup, which ended in 2012 after 35 years.

Japanese world number nine Nishikori was on cloud nine after stunning Roger Federer in their opening round-robin match on Sunday, but he was brought crashing back down to earth by 02 debutant Anderson.

With a 1-1 record in round-robin play, Federer will likely need to defeat Kevin Anderson on Thursday to improve his 14-1 record of reaching the semifinals at the season-ending tournament.

He will next take on in-form South African, Kevin Anderson, who humbled Nishikori 6-0 6-1 earlier in the day. "Hopefully I can take my revenge".

Even if Federer does win, the only way Anderson could finish outside the two qualifying spots would be on a countback of sets and games won, and having won his first two matches in straight sets, it would be a shock if he were not in Saturday's line-up.

The same can be said for Thiem, who struggled to land balls in play in a disappointing defeat to Federer, and the Austrian described his display as "not really acceptable". I love playing in London and I had to remind myself what a privilege it is.

But Nishikori's hold only delayed the inevitable, as Anderson sealed the match in the following game.

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