Del Potro Tops Federer to Reach ATP World Tour Semifinal
Roger Federer won Wimbledon, while Andy Murray took the gold at the Olympics. They’ll meet for a third time in London this season in tomorrow’s semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro will play the other semifinal after the matchups was set by Spain’s David Ferrer beating Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the last round-robin match of the season-ending tournament.
“Right now I think he’s playing great tennis,” Federer, the defending champion, said in a news conference about Murray. “Obviously the last six months have been amazing for him. I expect him to be extremely tough in the semis.”
The event splits the top eight singles players and doubles pairs into groups of four. The top two in each group advance to the single-elimination semifinals, with the title match schedule for Nov. 12.
Second-ranked Federer, the winner of Group B, has lost 10 of 18 career meetings with U.S. Open champion Murray. The Swiss beat the third-ranked Scot at Wimbledon in July, while Murray won a month later in the Olympic gold-medal match.
Del Potro, the sixth-seed from Argentina, claimed his spot in the semifinals today by beating Federer 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3. Federer had already qualified for the last four after winning his first two group matches earlier in the week.
“I’m so happy to beat Roger once again, I know he’s a favorite here but the crowd respected me also,” Del Potro said in a court-side interview.
It was Del Potro’s second win in as many weeks over Federer after beating the 17-time Grand Slam champion in his hometown in Basel, Switzerland, on Oct. 28.
Federer and Del Potro exchanged long baseline rallies in the first set as each held serve to set up a tiebreaker. Del Potro raced to a 6-1 lead and Federer saved two set points, before missing a return.
Federer responded with a break at the start of the second, and then forced a decider by serving out the set. Del Potro regained the initiative in the third by taking a 2-0 lead. A wayward forehand by Federer, his 42nd unforced error, handed Del Potro his first match point. He raised his arms after Federer missed a volley.
“I was a little lucky towards the end of the match,” Del Potro said. “Always when you beat these kinds of players you need luck on your side, but I played well. I took the break- point chances in the last set and then I served really well in the last game. I was very nervous but I closed out the match.”
Serbia’s Djokovic won Group A yesterday after sweeping all three of his matches. He has a 6-2 career record against Del Potro.
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