Roger Federer Beats Alexander Zverev to Reach Last Four at ATP Finals


Roger Federer held off young forward Alexander Zverev in a contest on Tuesday to reach the final four ATP Finals and stay on track for the seventh season finale.
World number two saw an energetic challenge from the cheering German 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-1 in front of a bustling crowd pro Federer to become the first man to reach the quarters at the O2 Arena .
“It was a good battle and I always have fun in this beautiful stadium,” said Federer, who now reached the semifinals 14 times.
“I have a lot of fun playing in London and I have been so successful here, thanks for making it such a special night.
“I’m happy and relieved to be able to play freely against (Cilic) Cilic, instead of being a springboard, it’s been a tough group, so being in two games is great.”
Both players were very demanding at the start of the game, but they quickly got into the narrow first set that saw no interruptions to the serve, although Zverev had to defend himself from two set points in the 12th game to force a tiebreak.
The third seed of 20 years competed with a 4-0 lead only to see how the Swiss led again by 5-4. Zverev earned a break point at 6-5, but could not convert and Federer made his third point-set points.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion broke in the first game of the second set to establish an iron control in the round-trip match, but Zverev responded in the fourth to return to the level terms.
Federer only connected 43 percent of the first serves in the second set and finally cost him in the 12th game, when Zverev capitalized on his third set point to force a decisive one.
The Swiss returned to find his focus and some consistency in service in the decisive when the level of Zverev fell, winning three recesses to close it by 6-1.
Zverev has been touted as the leader of a group of young players eager to oust the old guard, but Federer, who has suffered only four losses throughout the year, shows no signs of slipping.
On arriving at the match, Federer, 36, and Zverev had faced each other four times and each had won twice.
This year, Federer beat the German in Halle, but Zverev returned the favor at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
Sock wins
Previously, also in the Boris Becker group, Jack Sock kept his dreams of a fairy tale ending alive for his season, beating Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).
“It’s been an interesting morning so far,” said the American. “The fire alarm was activated at 4:00 a.m. and we had to leave the building, but I love playing here in London, it’s an amazing atmosphere, you make me feel at home.”
The two best players from each of the two groups of four go to the semifinals.
Federer, who beat Sock in his first match, is the star of the tournament after the withdrawal due to injury to world number one Rafael Nadal.
Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are long-absent from the Tour this season.