Roger Federer took more than two hours to overcome Kei Nishikori’s challenge at the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday in London. The Swiss won three of three to advance to the semifinals.
“The good thing is that I am through to the semis,” said the Swiss maestro. “It relaxes your nerves. I’ve been in this position before, so I know how to handle it.”
Federer dominated the earlier parts of the first two sets to take leads, but allowed the Japanese to come back sharply. The Swiss finally edged past his opponent 7-5 in the first set. Then he blew a 4-1 lead to lose the second set 4-6. Nishikori needed to beat Federer to advance to the semifinals after losing to Novak Djokovic. But the Japanese player failed to capitalize on the chances a disjointed Federer created for him.
Federer pulled off the third set 6-4 to maintain a 100-percent win record in the tournament. His former challenger Rafael Nadal of Spain is the only other player to do so here. Federer pointed out that his rivalry with Nadal is “more special” than that with reigning No 1 Djokovic.
“Maybe slightly Rafa,” Federer revealed, “just because he came before Novak. I’ve always enjoyed the match-up with Novak.
“I think it’s always very cool and athletic and straightforward, unlike [against] Rafa, where I feel like I have to change my game completely to compete with him.”
Federer defeated Djokovic in straight sets on Tuesday. Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, to reach the semifinals.