A crucial battle between 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer (Player Bio) and World No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro (Player Bio) takes place Saturday afternoon in the final round of group stage matches of the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals. Both competitors have a 1-1 record in the round robin stage and the winner of this contest will essentially book his spot in a semi-final berth with World no. 1 Rafael Nadal. This marks the third time in as many weeks that Federer and Del Potro meet on the tour. Having split their previous two encounters, the anticipation of the rubber match will certainly be high. Check out the Federer v Del Potro Head to Head.
Federer improved his chances of making the semi-finals for an eleventh time, when he defeated France’s Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3. It was not the prettiest of wins for the Swiss No. 1, as he struck 30 unforced errors throughout the match but managed to win the big points and only allowed Gasquet to convert 1 of 6 break point opportunities. Once in control of the second set, Federer needed an astonishing 5 match points to close out the match, an unusually high number for him.
“It is a big win for me [against Gasquet] and hopefully I can keep it up in the next match against Juan Martin Del Potro,” said Federer, I’m coming back from a lot of sort of ups and downs, resetting things, trying out things, making sure I get my confidence back, my movement and so forth.”
A win over Del Potro would be a final attempt for Federer to salvage the remainder of the season, which has arguably been his worst in the past decade. The six-time World Tour Finals champion is looking for just his second title this season, which is his poorest showing since 2001. He holds only three victories over top 10 players this season, the latest of which was his win over the Argentine in Paris last week.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 19 with his 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Del Potro. The win denied the ‘Tower of Tandil” an early spot in the semi-finals and forces him to clash with Federer for the spot. Del Potro appeared exhausted throughout the majority of the match, and was unable to penetrate the Serb’s defence with his aggressive forehand as effectively as he would have liked. It was a tight contest but the Argentine conceded two breaks that became his detriment as that was all Djokovic needed to secure the match. Had Del Potro been able to capitalize on his break point opportunities in the third set, the match may have swung in his favour but Djokovic was simply too resilient.
This is the third time in three weeks that Federer and Del Potro step across the courts from each other. The Argentine defended his title in Basel with a second consecutive finals win over the Swiss hero but lost to him in the quarter-finals in Paris in another three set encounter. The ‘Tower of Tandil’ is gradually bridging the gap in the head-to-head series between himself and the former no. 1 as he is now holds five wins (in 21 matches) against Federer, three of which have come in the last year. During that period, Roger has only defeated him once, which does not bode well for his chances. A motivated Federer could come out victorious if he takes advantage of the clearly-weary Del Potro and focuses on maintaining a high serve percentage, then he should come out on top in three sets.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets