Roger Federer shook off a rusty performance in his first match at the ATP Finals by beating Dominic Thiem in straight sets in his second outing in London on Tuesday.
The Swiss star brushed Thiem aside in just 66 minutes, winning 6-2 6-3 to get his campaign back on track.
The victory followed Kevin Anderson’s 6-0 6-1 thumping of Kei Nishikori, a result that saw Anderson head the Lleyton Hewitt Group standings with two-straight-sets victories. All four players remain in contention for the semifinals.
It also continued a streak of one-sided matches at the season-ending event; not one of the six round-robin matches played so far in London have extended to three sets.
“Amongst the best (matches) I’ve played. I felt I did a fantastic job throughout really,” said Anderson, who next plays Federer.
Nishikori beat an error-strewn Federer on the first day of the ATP Finals, but in his second outing he could not content with Anderson, who landed 78 per cent of his first serves, smacked 10 aces and did offer up a break point during the 64-minute rout.
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) November 13, 2018
The Japanese hastened his own demise with 24 unforced errors – including 15 from his forehand alone.
Still, it wasn’t as many unforced errors as what Thiem produced.
The Austrian managed just 11 winners while spraying 34 errors in his first match against Federer in two years. He won just three of his 11 points at net, and like Nishikori was unable to earn a break point at any stage of the match.
Federer appeared much sharper than in his first match, dominating on serve and landing 80 per cent of his returns to neutralise Thiem’s delivery.
Federer on cancelling practice: 'I will do the same again tomorrow, because it works. It wasn't my forehand or backhand or serve or anything, it was about my head. After a long trip home [after Nishikori match], we came to the decision to take it easy.'
— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) November 13, 2018
“It feels good, I’m very happy I showed a reaction after the last match against Kei,” Federer said.
“No match is easy here and it’s not something I’m used to, losing and then coming back and playing again, but it’s a great challenge and I’m happy with my attitude and how I played.”
His attention now turns to Anderson, whom he lost to in their most recent meeting in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
“I hope it’s not a match like Kevin played this afternoon,” Federer said. “It’s never easy to play against him, especially indoors. He deserved that win at Wimbledon but hopefully I’ll get my revenge.”
Anderson simply needs to win a set off Federer to secure his place in the semifinals.
The only way his misses out is if he loses in straight sets and Nishikori wins in straight – and even then he could qualify if the group standings require a count of games won and loss to determine the semifinalists.
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