Sweet revenge for Federer as he beats Raonic at World Tour Finals

Six-time former champion Roger Federer avenged his recent loss to Milos Raonic in Paris to opening his account on Sunday at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Second seed Federer improved to a 45-11 record at the season finale with a 6-1, 7-6(o) victory over the seventh-seeded Raonic, who was making his debut at the tournament.

"I think I played really well for probably one and a half sets," said Federer. "It was good to get off to a good start like I did against him at Cincinnati and Wimbledon. I broke in the first game and sort of never looked back.

"Thankfully he didn't play quite so well like he did in Paris. He gave me a few shots here and there, especially at the beginning of the breaker. I think those were crucial. I was happy to bring it home because it was very close at the end of the second."

Federer was at his aggressive best losing just four of his service point to clinch the 25-minute set. Six of his eight winners came from his forehand. Raonic hit five aces.

The 23-year-old Canadian was forced to dig in. Dictating with his forehand he made inroads, but could not convert any of his three break point opportunities early in the second set. Although his error count was high, importantly, he kept Federer behind the baseline. Federer saved one set point at 5-6, 30/40, with an powerful serve that was unreturned.

Raonic got off to the worst possible start in the tie-break, mis-timing a forehand on the first point. Federer grew in confidence, waited for errors and ran through to complete an 89-minute victory. He is now 7-1 lifetime against Raonic and 69-11 on the year.

"I was very happy with how I performed. The second set was much tougher. I don't think he played a great breaker but it was a great one to win," Federer said.

"It's a small relief. We have a tough group here so it's always going to be hard advancing but it brings me a step closer."

"Obviously it can come down just to one play, and we might be playing a third set," said Raonic. "But it's obviously disappointing, very disappointing actually, the way I finished that second set off...Today the big difference was when he would get his racquet on the ball, he would make me play all the time. He was giving me some shots in Paris in that sense, some quicker points.

"I get pretty angry when I lose, so I'm going to have to learn how to slap myself out of it."

Federer has won the ATP World Tour Finals a record six times in three different cities. He has also beaten six different final opponents: Houston in 2003 (d. Agassi) and 2004 (d. Hewitt), Shanghai in 2006 (d. Blake) and 2007 (d. Ferrer) and London in 2010 (d. Nadal) and 2011 (d. Tsonga). He was also runner-up in 2005 (l. to Nalbandian) and 2012 (l. to Djokovic).

But at 33, Federer has been in age-defying form this year and he arrived as the oldest player to qualify for the tournament in his record 13th consecutive appearance.

Federer is set to become the oldest player to finish a season in the world's top two and still has a slim chance of becoming the oldest player to end the season as world number one if he overhauls Novak Djokovic in the race for the top spot.

Federer and Nishikori will now meet in Group B on Tuesday when Murray and Raonic will be battling to keep themselves afloat in the round-robin event.

Date: 9th November 2014, Source: ATP, Reuters and AFP


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