Federer on the fast track to World Tour Finals semis

Roger Federer improve to 2-0 at the World Tour Finals and a commanding 4-0 in sets by cruising past Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon. Federer saved all three of the break points he faced to prevail in just one hour and nine minutes.

Nishikori had fleeting chance to get ahead early in the match, but Federer erased a break point with an ace out wide at 30-40 and the Japanese underdog sent a forehand long on his second opportunity. Unable to shake that disappointment, Nishikori promptly dropped serve in the next game. Federer set up break point with a brilliant forehand passing shot and converted it thanks to another forehand winner. Nishikori fought off a break point at 1-4 on a well-placed backhand volley to stay within striking distance, but his opponent wrapped up the first set with little trouble at 5-3.
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Federer seized complete control when he broke at 1-1 in the second on another forehand error by Nishikori. From there the second-ranked Swiss poured it on against his reeling adversary. He benefited from a double-fault on break point at 2-4 and closed out the proceedings on serve at 4-2. Federer fought off one last break point with a service winner at 30-40 before getting the job done two points later.

The 33-year-old finished with 17 winners and 18 unforced errors. Playing aggressive tennis, Federer went to to net 17 times and kept Nishikori on his heels despite winning only seven of those net points. Nishikori recorded 15 winners and 30 errors–16 off the backhand side.

“I’m happy after two matches I’m standing here with two wins,” said Federer, who will officially clinch a spot in the semifinals if the Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic result on Tuesday night is anything other than a Murray straight-set win. “It’s very positive. Usually if you do win in straight sets twice, things look very, very good.”

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“He took the important points,” Nishikori explained. “All the important points. I didn’t play really bad, but I wasn’t really consistent…. I never feel that [Federer] is 33. He looks still young and playing amazing tennis. I think the age doesn’t matter right now.”

Nishikori, who beat Murray on Sunday while Federer got the best of Murray, will face Raonic on Thursday. That will be a virtual quarterfinal match if Raonic defeats Murray and both men head into the showdown with 1-1 records.

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