Five-time titlist and defending champion Roger Federer qualified for the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over his great rival, second seed Rafael Nadal, according to atpworldtour.com. Federer won his first match over Nadal since last year’s final at the year-end championship, by hitting 28 winners to four in a 62-minute win. It was their fifth meeting in England. Nadal leads 17-9 in their series.
“It was a great match for me basically from start to finish,” said Federer, according to the same source. “I was able to do what I was hoping to do: dominate from the baseline, play close to the baseline, serve well, take his time away. [It] hasn’t always worked. I always knew I could beat Rafa. The question is sometimes it was hard to do because he has a big say, as well, in how the matches go. The quicker the court, the more I favour myself. Maybe Rafa didn’t play his very best tonight. But on an indoor court, it all happens very quickly as we saw at the end. For me it was an exciting match to play.”
“The score is true, and today he played too good for me,” said Nadal. “Just accept that today when you play against Federer and he’s playing like this, the only way to stay in the match is have free points with the serve, because for the rest his level was too high in this surface. And I didn’t had these free points as usual.”
In another game sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won his first match in Group B at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory over eighth seed Mardy Fish in 90 minutes.
The Frenchman improved to a 53-23 match record on the season, highlighted by lifting two ATP World Tour titles at the Moselle Open in Metz (d. Ljubicic) and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Tsonga hit six aces, 33 winners and converted five of 11 break point opportunities. When asked how he would approach his next match against Roger Federer, Fish admitted, “I feel like I can win. I felt like I could win both the matches I already played, and I didn’t. But, I mean, you’re going to have to pry me off the court to not be able to compete in an event like this. I worked very hard this past year, these past two years [and] made a lot of sacrifices. These are the rewards, playing in an event like this. That’s why I say, it’s very disappointing, to not be able to play at the level that I would like to play at.”