Federer beats Fish, Finishes Group B with perfect record

Roger Federer completed Group B play with a perfect 3-0 record on Thursday after beating eighth seed Mardy Fish 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Federer hit 28 winners and won 10 of his 12 net points to improve to 14-0 indoors this year. Fish committed 32 unforced errors in the pair's eighth meeting (Federer 7-1), which lasted one hour and 49 minutes.

"The first set wasn't as one sided as the score suggested, and the second set he played great," said Federer. "He really started to zone in on many shots. I thought he was able to keep that up in the third set. So I was happy to get the crucial break early in the third and maybe cruise a bit more. I definitely struggled a little bit more today, but I thought that was more due to the circumstances, like you mentioned, and Mardy playing well for most of the match."

Federer could overtake Andy Murray to become year-end No. 3 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, if he reached the final at The O2. Federer has a 5-1 record in year-end championship finals, finishing runner-up to David Nalbandian in the 2005 title-match.

Defending champion and five-time titlist Federer, who had already qualified for the semi-finals by virtue of beating his great rival Rafael Nadal on Tuesday, broke Fish's serve in a 14-point second game on his fourth break point opportunity when Fish hit a backhand long. Though Federer was immediately broken back, to 30, Federer raised his game with two more service breaks in the fourth and sixth games. At 5-1, he battled back from 0/40, winning six of seven points to clinch the 32-minute opener.

In the second set, Fish broke Federer to 30 for a 3-1 lead and could have clinched the set 6-2, but failed to convert two break chances in a 12-point game. Fish coolly held to 30, to level the score, when Federer hit a backhand into the net - one of 11 errors in the set. Fish, attacking at every opportunity, struck 16 winners.

A forehand pass from Federer, saw Fish lose his serve to 30, in the second game - a break the Swiss confirmed with a hold to love, ending with two straight aces. Fish saved one break point at 0-3, but Federer's proved too strong as he improved to 62-12 on the season.

The Swiss superstar is now two wins shy of equalling Ivan Lendl's year-end championship 39-10 record. Federer is 37-7 with five titles, won in 2003 (d. Agassi), 2004 (d. Hewitt), 2006 (d. Blake), 2007 (d. Ferrer) and 2010 (d. Nadal).

"I'm happy I was able to win today just because of momentum for the semis in a couple of days. I'm surprised how well it's gone always at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals-level for me because these are maybe almost the toughest and most dangerous matches to play during the year because it's best of three sets, against fellow Top 10 players indoors, where a few shots usually do decide the outcome of the match."

Roger will now play the runner-up from Group A in Saturday's semi-final.

Date: 24.11.2011


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