Federer Breaks Tour Finals Record to Open Bid for Seventh Title

Roger Federer still wasn’t fulfilled after setting another tennis record by beating Janko Tipsarevic at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The 6-3, 6-1 victory at London’s O2 arena yesterday was Federer’s 40th at the season-ending tournament for the top eight singles players, one more than the mark he’d previously shared with five-time champion Ivan Lendl.

“I’m far from perfect,” Federer, 31, told reporters when asked if there was anything he wasn’t good at. “I can’t cook. There are many things I can’t do that I wish I could do. I can’t skate. I would love to do that.”

After losing his spot atop the rankings last season to Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Federer returned to form at Wimbledon this year, where he beat Britain’s Andy Murray to win a men’s record-extending 17th Grand Slam title. He won the silver medal at the London Olympics and completed a record 302nd week at No. 1 before being usurped by Djokovic this week. He’ll end the season inside the top two for the ninth time in 10 years.

As at the four Grand Slam tournaments, Federer’s record at the ATP Finals is unmatched in the men’s game.

The Swiss has a 40-7 career record in 11 appearances and has won the title a record six times. Lendl and Pete Sampras are next with five championships.

Federer said he can still recall his first match at the ATP Finals, a straights-set win against Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in Shanghai in 2002.

‘Big Moment’

“It was a big moment for me because I was hoping to do well, increase my ranking, because I knew every match I could win possibly in the round robin stages could really help my ranking down the stretch,” Federer said. “That’s exactly what it did. I think I finished sixth in the world that year.”

The ATP Finals feature a round-robin format. The top eight singles players and doubles pairs are divided into two groups of four, with the top two in each moving into the semifinals.

Spain’s David Ferrer beat former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 last night in the other match in Federer’s group.

Today, U.S. Open champion Murray and Australian Open winner Djokovic will clash for the seventh time this season. France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, last year’s finalist, plays Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the evening match.

The second-ranked Federer fired seven aces past No. 8 seed Tipsarevic yesterday and never faced a break point, winning 95 percent of the points on his first serve.

“Roger was just too good,” Tipsarevic said. “People see him play this flawless tennis and saying, ‘Oh, life is so easy for Roger, he’s so talented.’ He is talented, but there’s so much work behind that and so much thinking to improve.”

Should Federer win his seventh title of 2012 in London, he would join John McEnroe at No. 3 on the career title-leaders list with 77.

“It’s been a great career, but hopefully I have some more left in the tank this week,” said Federer, who will face Ferrer in his next group match tomorrow.

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