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Roger Federer Stops Jack Sock For 50th Win Of 2017 In London At The ATP Nitto

Switzerland’s Roger Federer returns a ball to France’s Adrian Mannarino during their quarter final match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, 27 October 2017. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDRA WEY



Written by Richard Pagliaro


LONDON—Roger Federer continued a perfect London run.


Launching his quest for a seventh ATP World Tour Finals title, Federer broke in the opening game of the match subduing Jack Sock, 6-4, 7-6 (4), in the opening match of Group Boris Becker at the O2 Arena.


It was Federer’s 50th win of the season against only four losses.


“It was more about managing the match rather than actually having a certain way how you play and what you were really thinking about,” Federer told the media afterward. “Sure, I had a tactical plan with my team. But very often in a first match like this, it gets thrown overboard because at the end you’re just happy to be serving well. Focus on that first, and then on the return game sort of try your best, try to keep the ball in play, and go from there.”


The second-ranked Swiss has yet to surrender a set in London this season.


Federer soared to his record eighth Wimbledon championship with a crushing 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, conquest of Marin Cilic in the Wimbledon final becoming the first man to win The Championships without permitting a set since his Laver Cup captain, Bjorn Borg, did it in 1976.


Facing 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion Sock, Federer set the tone on serve today. He served 63 percent, won 36 of 40 first-serve points and did not face a break point.


“In the second, he caught a serving rhythm,” Sock said. “I think everybody wants to talk obviously about the big guys who do have the best serves, Isner and them. For guys of average height like the rest of us, his serve is extremely difficult to read and catch up with sometimes. He served well today.”


Choosing to receive, Federer lashed a flurry of winners opening with the only break of the match.


Dancing around a backhand, Federer fired a forehand winner down the line for break point. Catching Sock leaning left, Federer lashed his second backhand winner down the line of the game to break at 30.


Jack Sock of the USA returns a ball to David Goffin of Belgium during their quarter final match of the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, 27 October 2017. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDRA WEY

“I actually don’t think I played too bad of a game,” Sock said. “I missed one serve in the first game. I had my chances. He put me in some awkward positions on some of those forehands. Like the first point, kind of had to pick on direction. He guessed the right way, hit a good shot after.”


The eight-seeded Sock lived up to his J-Sizzle nickname with both shotmaking and sense of humor.


Serving at 2-4, Sock dug out a backhand half volley sat up inside the service box. The American turned his backside to net in a show of concession, Federer netted the forehand sitter. A surprised Sock pointed at his butt as if reminding Federer he missed the target holding for 3-4 then patted Federer on the shoulder as they walked to the changeover.


“It was a big distraction, I’ll tell you that because it was very big,” Federer joked afterward. “That’s what I should have aimed for. That target was bigger than the down-the-line court that I had.”


Federer cracked four of his five aces in the first set, including successive aces to serve out the opener in 36 minutes. He won 16 of 18 points on first serve in the first set.


Precision serving powered Federer through four consecutive love holds in the set—he won 29 of 32 points on his serve in the second set—including an ace to force the tie break.


Sock’s sixth double fault of the match gave Federer the mini break and a 5-4 lead.


The six-time champion sealed a 90-minute win when Sock’s return sailed long drawing sustained applause from his support team–coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic, his parents, wife Mirka and agent Tony Godsick–who sat directly across from Federer’s court-side seat.


“I’m happy that I came out today and had actually good energy,” Federer said. “This is the best I’ve felt since the del Potro (Basel) finals. I’m very happy to see that I didn’t have to pay the price for taking it easy, you know, resting, recovering. But then turning it up the last few days got me in shape for today.”

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