London | Federer secures last four slot
ROGER Federer remained on course for his 100th career title with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Kevin Anderson which sealed his 15th semi-final spot at the Nitto ATP Finals inside the 02 in London.
I'm happy I gave myself the opportunity. I'm happy that I'm raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do. It's exciting to be in this situation now, of course, no doubt. Roger Federer
The six-time champion gained revenge over Anderson – who defeated the Swiss master at Wimbledon in the summer – in style to finish top of his group after a shock defeat in his opening match against Kei Nishikori.
He played down suggestions that his haul of glittering prizes would hit three figures by the end of the tournament.
Federer, 37, said: “Regardless of the numbers this is a massive tournament for the players. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I’ve loved being part of the Tennis Masters Cup at the time, today World Tour Finals.
“I’ve always tried to pace myself in a way, set up my schedule in a way that I would have something left in the tank, I would peak at this event.
“I’m happy that this is another week like this. Didn’t look like it maybe 72 hours ago. But I was able to come back and play good tennis.
“Personally, I’m still not thinking of the number 100. I won’t let that get in my head, make me go crazy because it should be something I’m excited about and not something I should feel extra pressure.
“As long as I think Novak (Djokovic) is in the draw anyhow, he’s playing so good again, it’s never going to be easy. it’s just going to be hard to finish it.
“I’m happy I gave myself the opportunity. I’m happy that I’m raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do. It’s exciting to be in this situation now, of course, no doubt.”
Federer insisted he still had that “energy left in the tank” after not practising the day before his meeting with Anderson, a tactic which worked in his second match against Dominic Thiem.
He said: “Everybody does it differently. Everybody has got different coaches and entourage that give you different advice. Look, I’m a big believer in vacation. I’m a big believer in taking time off sometimes.
“When I go to work, I go hard, I go the right way, I go professional about it with my team. I didn’t think of taking a day off, to be honest, after the Nishikori match. I thought, What are we going to do? Where are we going to train? They said, How about a day off? I said, Sure, I’m happy for a day off. It’s only if you guys want it.
“This is how we took the decision quickly. The day after Nishikori, as we realised it made me happy, relaxed, motivated for when I do come on court, that it’s working. We kept that. I didn’t practice yesterday. I doubt that I will practice tomorrow. I think if I can’t practice on centre court, there’s no reason to go on a different court, feel a different type of atmosphere.
“Here it’s great. I can warm up with the matches great intensity and I’m ready to go. I played so much of my career, so much this season already, especially recently, we just don’t feel the urge of having to work on anything. It’s all about matches at this point.”
Federer needed just six games to make sure he would go through to the semis when he faced South African debutant Anderson who had already sealed his last-four berth with two wins in his opening matches.
Federer broke Anderson for a 4-3 lead in the opening set but was immediately broken. Fortunately for his army of fans, the winner of a record 20 Grand Slam broke his opponent again and secured the set after saving three break points.
He stepped it up in the second, largely from the baseline to complete the win in 76 minutes.
Anderson said: ” I feel like some of the things he did I didn’t really adjust to very well. I thought he used the change of pace very well.
“I felt actually okay, pretty good, out on the court, but didn’t execute or play at a high enough level in order to win.
“That was a little bit disappointing because I felt like I played some really good tennis so far. But the plus side is I’m through to the semis. That feels great. That’s step one done. Have tomorrow off, definitely look to come back stronger on Saturday.”