Roger Federer is already through to the semi finals at the ATP World Tour Finals but can put the exclamation point on his group performance with a third victory against the 0-2 Marin Cilic. Going 3-0 and eventually undefeated this week will move him very close to the No. 1 spot going into 2018 although realistically Rafael Nadal’s injury woes will have to continue if he is to make it back to the top.
Federer escaped a 0-4 tiebreak hole in the first set of his win over Alexander Zverev before breaking to begin the second. It seemed he wous cruise to victory but the young German didn’t go away easily, breaking back soon after and once more at 6-5 – an impressive feat given Federer’s usual dominance on serve indoors. Federer proved why he was the favourite for the whole tournament by cruising through the third set, winning the last 6 games 9f the match.
Federer compared his performance to his loss in Montreal where Zverev overwhelmed his wounded opponent. “I think I was able to read his forehand this time better than Montreal, where he had a lot of winners forehand and backhand. It was also different types of conditions. It was outdoors. It was warm. Day session. Harder to see the ball, to be honest. So I just think I wasn’t quite reading his plays very well in Montreal, anyway, for a set and a little bit until I hurt my back.” he said. “I think I was able to stay the course and, you know, use my slice quite effectively, then try with variation to go into his forehand.”
Federer may have to adopt a different strategy going into his final match against Cilic with the Croatian’s serve-forehand combo having the potential to cause a lot of trouble on faster surfaces. Including his Wimbledon final loss this year, Cilic is just 1-7 against Federer, his one win coming in a perfect performance at the US Open the year he won it.
At 0-2, Cilic is already out but he will be ruing his inability to close out either of his matches against Jack Sock and Alexander Zverev. He held 3-1 leads in the deciding sets of both matches, showcasing the danger of dropping your level at the very top of the game. “What makes the difference I think with these top guys, if you don’t take the chances, it’s one point here and there. Just going to try to be a little bit more stubborn in my preparations maybe for next match, and hopefully next year. Hopefully I’m going to perform better.” he said.
Prediction: Roger Federer in straight sets