Federer beats Ferrer to reach 100th final, Aims for 6th year-end title

Roger Federer reached the 100th tour-level final of his career to guarantee he will finish in the Top 3 of the year-end South African Airways ATP Rankings for a ninth straight season.

Third seed Federer beat fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for a place in his seventh year-end championship final. It was Federer's 806th win, which draws him level with his childhood idol, Stefan Edberg, at No. 6 overall for most match wins in the Open Era (since 1968).

"I thought it was a tough match," said Federer. "I could clearly see why David beat Murray and Djokovic here - he takes the ball really early, is able to generate great angles off his plays and is super consistent. Obviously, it was a key 5-4 game for me to hold and then break the next game. Then, actually, break again early on in the second set. That was a crucial sort of 15-20 minutes for me. I'm happy I was able to decide the match right there."

The five-time champion will now look to lift his 70th trophy (69-30) against either No. 6 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or seventh seed Tomas Berdych in Sunday's final. Federer has a 15-0 indoor record this year and is looking to lift his third straight indoor title.

"It's obviously a special occasion for me tomorrow playing my hundredth final, possibly winning my 70th title and winning my sixth at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals," said Federer. "That would be a record."

Federer sensed blood when Ferrer hit two double faults at 2-2 in the first set, but the speedy Spaniard worked his way back into the game, until he handed Federer a break point opportunity with a mis-timed forehand. Ferrer attacked the net, rushing Federer into a backhand error. Federer survived an eight-minute, five-deuce, service game for 5-5, before he raised his game to create two break point chances on Ferrer's serve.

Ferrer saved one as a Federer return went long, but dragged a forehand wide one point later. Federer, who committed 19 unforced errors in the first set, was not at his best, but he managed to clinch the 50-minute set with a hold to love. He won 19 of his 25 first service points and nine of his 10 net points. Ferrer committed 11 unforced errors.

Right at the start of the second set, Ferrer's forehand mis-fired to give Federer a break point opportunity at 30/40, which the Swiss took with a powerful forehand return winner. He won his fourth straight game with a hold to love, ending with a forehand winner down the line. At 2-3, Ferrer was lured to the net at 15/30, only to mis-hit a forehand. It handed Federer two break point chances, but the 16-time major champion hit two groundstroke errors.

Federer got to match point, following a net cord winner, on Ferrer's serve at 3-5, 30/30. He squandered the opportunity with an overcooked forehand, but converted his second match point opportunity two points later when Ferrer could not return a forehand for victory in 86 minutes.

Federer hit 24 winners and did not commit a single unforced error on his backhand. He dropped one point on serve in the second set to improve to 12-0 lifetime and to 25-3 in sets against Ferrer, who finished runner-up to the Swiss in the title-match four year ago, when the tournament was played in Shanghai.

"I've maybe had some easier matches against him," admitted Federer. "But lately, they've all been very tough, very physical. He's improved a lot. He's really cemented himself into the Top 10, now even into the Top 5. I expect him to have another very solid and good season if things fall in place for him. He's one of the best returners we have in the game. He's got great mental toughness. He's extremely fit."

Federer, who has a 38-7 overall record at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, is looking to win his third straight indoor title after lifting silverware at the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. Nishikori) and the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (d. Tsonga). He has a 63-12 match record on the season.

Date: 26.11.2011, Source: ATP


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