WATCH—Match point from Federer’s win over Anderson:
Roger Federer avenged his Wimbledon defeat to Kevin Anderson at the ATP Finals on Thursday, beating the South African in straight sets to not only qualify for the semifinals of the season-ending event, but to finish at the top of their round-robin group (with Anderson finishing in second place).
Their Wimbledon encounter had to be on Federer’s mind going into the match—having never even lost a set against Anderson in their four previous meetings, the Swiss lost a four-hour, 14-minute heartbreaker there, holding a match point in the third set but ultimately going down 13-11 in the fifth.
“I’m excited to get a chance to play him again, to be honest,” Federer said ahead of their Thursday rematch. “I’ve played well against him in the past. I hope I can reproduce something like that.”
And reproduce that previous form he did: Federer needed just an hour and 17 minutes for a 6-4, 6-3 victory, finishing the match with 18 winners to 14 unforced errors. He broke Anderson four times in the match, twice per set—the South African didn’t even face any break points in his first two matches.
“Well, I’m very happy,” Federer said in his on-court interview. “My first match against Kei was really tough, but then I got going. Maybe it’s easier for me to play with my back against the wall. We tried to come up with a good game plan against Dominic and then Kevin today, and it all worked out.
“It was a fun group with different kinds of players. I fought hard and I’m thrilled to be in the semis.”
Anderson’s game went somewhat awry against Federer—he finished with 13 winners to 24 unforced errors on the day, which includes just three winners to 22 unforced errors off of his groundstrokes.
But the South African, who won his first two matches in straight sets, advances to the semis too.
“These round-robin formats aren’t as straightforward as you think,” Federer added. “You feel like you can lose a match and still go on—during the season we’re all used to ‘you lose, you leave.’
“I’m happy I’m still alive. I have some energy left in the tank and I’m excited to be in the semifinals.”
Federer has now reached the semifinals of the ATP Finals 15 times in 16 career appearances, the only exception coming in 2008 (he went 1-2 in the round robin that year and didn’t make the cut).
The Swiss has a record six career titles at the ATP Finals in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
This Week on Tennis Channel:
ATP Finals (Sun – Sun 11.11 – 11.18) – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and the world’s best collide in the season Finale. Live coverage begins on Tennis Channel Sunday at 7:00am EST.