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Roger Federer Stops The Young Talented Zverev in 3 Sets (It Should Have Been Straight Sets (2))

Roger Federer of Switzerland returns to Alexander Zverev of Germany during their Men’s singles match at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London, Britain, 14 November 2017. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

 

 

By Richard Pagliaro

 

Roger Federer supports keeping a lid on the World Tour Finals.

 

Tonight, Federer raised the roof on the O2 Arena.

 

Before a wildly enthusiastic crowd, Federer flew threw six straight games transforming a tight test into a tutorial in closing power.

 

Federer dispatched Alexander Zverev, 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-1, soaring into his 14th semifinal in 15 World Tour Finals appearances.

 

Facing a power player 16 years his junior, the 36-year-old Swiss relied on his all-court acumen, variation and some stiff resistance denying nine of the 11 break points he faced.

 

Federer, who saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie break, raised his record to 51-4, including a 13-1 mark vs. Top 10 opponents in 2017.

 

A pro-Federer crowd voiced its support from the start, including three guys sporting red-and-white clown wigs, red t-shirts and wearing Swiss flags as caps bopped up and down in unison.

 

Nearby, a woman waved a sign stating “I came all the way from Mexico to see Roger Federer” while another fan wore a white “RF” cap topped with neon red RF sign that looked like it came from Piccadilly Circus.

 

The only man to defeat the Grand Slam King in a final this year came out slugging earning triple break point in the first game.

 

Federer denied all three break points with declarative serving.

 

Thumping a 133 mph ace down the middle, Zverev saved break point in the second game, sparking a three-point run that saw him flash a swinging forehand volley to hold.

 

Withstanding those early tests, both man flashed through their service games with authority until the final game of the set.

 

Zverev sent backhand beyond baseline handing Federer set point.

 

Working to the Federer one-hander, the world No. 3 drew a netted replay saving it. Federer put a short forehand smack off the baseline for a second set point. Zverev caught a break with his slice backhand careened off the top of the tape and crawled over to save it.

 

The World Tour Finals debutant held through the test to force the tie break.

 

In a topsy-turvy tie break, Zverev raced out to a 4-0 lead only to see Federer win five points in a row. Federer denied set point for 6-all. A flat forehand into net from the 20-year-old German ended the 54-minute opener.

 

Spreading the court with a forehand down the line, Federer flashed a crosscourt forehand breaking to start the second set.

 

Slashing his fifth ace down the middle, Federer confirmed the break at love and seemed to be in charge.

 

The world No. 3 had other ideas.

 

A crosscourt backhand stretched Federer out for a lunging volley and Zverev swooped in to spin a forehand pass down the line breaking back for 2-2.

 

Hitting with depth and vigor, Zverev created more break chances in the second set—seven in all—and though Federer stood firm with a fine backhand drop volley holding for 4-all, fissures were beginning to show.

 

A shanked Federer backhand gave Zverev three set points. Federer fought off the first two, but was pushed on the defense and dragged a forehand wide as the third set broke for the second time in the set to level the match.

 

Growing more vocal, Federer fans urged their man on with exuberance.

 

He answered the call. When Zverev scattered a backhand wide, Federer had the first break of the final set for 2-1.

 

The six-time champion backed up the break at love then mixed the spins and varied his angles to unsettle his opponent and quickly stretch his lead.

 

An increasingly erratic Zverev put a forehand into net as Federer broke for 4-1 leaving his disconsolate opponent gnawing on his racquet as he walked to his court-side seat.

 

From that point on, Federer force-fed the Montreal champion a disorientating diet of spin and angle. Zverev netted a backhand then spit up his seventh double fault to end it.

 

Continuing his quest for a seventh World Tour Finals title, Federer raised his record in deciding sets to 12-2 this season, while Zverev will take on eighth-seeded Jack Sock on Thursday with a semifinal spot on the line.

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