ATP World Tour Finals Round Robin Group B
Afternoon Session, 2pm local
With Novak Djokovic on two wins out of two in Group B and through to the semi finals, Roger Federer (Player Bio) and Juan Martin Del Potro (Player Bio) will fight for second spot in the group tomorrow afternoon in what is essentially a quarter final knock out match. The Federer vs Del Potro Head to Head stands at 14-5.
Both players have the same win/loss record although both of Del Potro’s matches have gone the distance. A slow start created problems for him against Richard Gasquet but he would eventually come through 6-7 6-3 7-5 while against Novak Djokovic he forced a third after taking advantage of a lull in the Serbian’s play. However, his failure to take a break point early in the third would be telling as Djokovic earned a love break midway through and never let go to hold on for the win despite a far from vintage performance.
Federer also took the World No.2 to three sets in defeat. After failing to close out an error-strewn second set on serve, Federer finally came through in the tiebreak with five straight points to take it 7-2. It would be worth very little with a terrible game from Federer beginning the third – he was broken to love and after saving a break point the very next game, Djokovic eased through the set to take the match 6-4 6-7 6-2.
Federer ensured that Saturday’s match will be decisive with a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet. He broke twice in both sets for a 6-4 6-3 win, the final break coming after six match points as Gasquet was eliminated from semi final contention.
Despite Federer owning a 14-5 head to head record over Del Potro, it’s quite clear that the pendulum is swinging in the Argentinian’s direction. Prior to his three set victory in Paris last week, Federer had been on the wrong side of three set affairs in the Basel finals of this year and last year as well as being defeated at this very tournament last year, all on indoor courts.
A common theme in those matches is that Federer bounces back after a slow start – he has won the second set in all three of the matches he was defeated in. He has found it difficult to keep to a high level for the whole match all year and has been punished for it – especially against elite players with his last deciding set won against a Big 4 member in 2010.
This match should hopefully bring some excitement to what has been a decidedly disappointing event so far and with a semi final place on the line – most likely against Rafael Nadal – motivation won’t be lacking.
Prediction: Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets