London, England (SportsNetwork.com) – Six-time champion Roger Federer and
Japanese star Kei Nishikori secured berths in the semifinals at the
season-ending ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Federer dismantled fifth-seeded British
favorite Andy Murray with a comprehensive, near-double-bagel performance, 6-0,
6-1, in 56 minutes in front of stunned onlookers at London’s O2 Arena. Murray
trailed 0-5 in the second set before finally getting on the scoreboard with a
The only way Murray could have reached the semis was with a straight-set
victory over Federer. And that certainly didn’t happen.
“Clearly I’m very happy to have played a good match today,” Federer said.
The 17-time Grand Slam king Federer and two-time major titlist Murray had
split their previous 22 matchups, but Federer is now 3-0 overall versus the
Brit this year and 4-0 versus Murray all-time at the ATP Finals.
Federer’s place in Saturday’s semifinals was already assured before he took to
the court against Murray in Thursday’s Group B nightcap.
Federer went 3-0 in round-robin action to capture Group B. The U.S. Open
runner-up Nishikori (2-1) joined the iconic Swiss in the final four, while
Murray (1-2), Milos Raonic (0-2) and first-alternate David Ferrer (0-1) are
done for the year.
Federer, who is making a record 13th consecutive appearance at this
event and still has an outside chance of capturing the year-end No. 1
ranking, holds the record for the most titles at this prestigious
In qualifying for his 12th career Tour Finals semifinal, Federer tied a
record set by Ivan Lendl and the 33-year-old Swiss legend is the oldest player
to advance to the last four at this event since Andre Agassi finished as a
runner-up in 2003.
The other Day 5 match saw the fourth-seeded Nishikori come from behind to best
Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. It marked the first time this week that a match did not
end in straight sets, as nine of the first 10 bouts have ended in straights.
The 24-year-old Nishikori tallied 27 more winners (41-14) than Ferrer,
including a lopsided 15-0 advantage in the third set. The Japanese star moved
on despite misfiring with 37 unforced errors, but broke Ferrer’s serve five
times, while the gritty 32-year-old Spaniard settled for two breaks in defeat.
Ferrer was forced into action Thursday when the Canadian slugger Raonic
withdrew from the exclusive eight-player event due to a quad injury.
The seventh-seeded Raonic had dropped his first two matches in the four-
player Group B in straight sets.
“As badly as I wanted to play, you’ve got to be at the top of your game here
and I couldn’t be close to that today,” said Raonic. “Wouldn’t have been fair
to the fans if I had played a mediocre match or had to stop.”
Round-robin action will wrap up on Friday when world No. 1 Wimbledon champ
Novak Djokovic takes on sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych and third-seeded Australian
Open winner Stan Wawrinka battles eighth-seeded U.S. Open titlist Marin Cilic.
The two-time reigning and three-time overall Tour Finals champion Djokovic
beat Rafael Nadal in last year’s final here in London and the super Serb has
won his last 29 indoor matches.
Djokovic is 2-0 in the four-player Group A, while Wawrinka and Berdych are 1-1
and Cilic is winless at 0-2.
The 27-year-old Djokovic is one win away from clinching the year-end No. 1
ranking for the third time in four years.