There was plenty at stake in today’s third round meeting between sixth-seeded Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro in Group B with the Swiss ultimately qualifying for the knockout stage at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2013 after a magnificent three-set triumph.
The fourth seed Argentine made his entrance by marching to 0-40* in the opening game and stealing Roger’s serve three rallies later. The Swiss Maestro replied by earning a break point himself, but Delpo managed to pull 2-0 ahead and eventually doubled his one break lead. While Federer’s chances of returning into the set looked slim at 5-2, he prevented the rival serving it out with a perfect display in the seventh game which del Potro opened with a couple of unforced errors and got broken to love after FedEx dispatched an unstoppable forehand winner. While his 10-point run ended in the following game, he did make it 5-4 and threatened the opponent again by creating a pair of break points in the tenth game. However, he could not pull off a great escape as Delpo finally succeeded to seal the opener.
The beginning of the set number two went according to the Argentine’s plans as well as he constructed a 3-1 lead, but Federer was back in business by 3-3 thanks to another break to love. The rest of the set progressed on serve and the Swiss needed to claim the tie-break in order to keep his semi-final hopes alive. He stay focused in the thirteenth game to grab the first mini-break and confirm it with an ace. Del Potro never really got involved in the breaker and faced four set points as a result – Fedex came up with his seventh ace straight away to force an all-deciding final set at the O2 Arena.
We were in for some more twists and turns with Delpo seizing the initial three games, yet the 32-old-Swiss legend regrouped once again to make it 3-3 and break for the second time for a 6-5 advantage. His adversary was not about to let go off his semi-final ticket that easily, but he missed his break back opportunity by netting a backhand, whilst the Swiss generated a match point with an emphatic smash and capped off the comeback with the tenth ace of the afternoon. He needed two hours and a half to secure a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5 victory which will see him play his arch-rival Rafa Nadal in the season finale semis. Federer conquered the year-end tournament on six occasions, the last one in 2011.