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Federer to play Tsonga for ATP finals title
LONDON (AP) - Every time Roger Federer steps onto the court, another milestone seems to be within grasp.
He seized another one Saturday, reaching his 100th career final by beating David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals. Federer could add a few more Sunday. He’s in position to win his 70th title overall and a record sixth at the season-ending tournament for the world’s top eight players.
“It’s obviously a special occasion for me,” said Federer, who will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.
“Roger is the best player for the moment indoors,” Tsonga said. “It’s going to be really special here, for my first final here. It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere on court, and I like that. … I know it’s the last match (of the year) so I will give it everything.”
Djokovic and Nadal were eliminated after losing two of their round-robin matches this week, both saying their minds and bodies weren’t up for top-level tennis following another grueling season. Murray pulled out injured following his opening loss to Ferrer on Monday.
Federer _ who holds a record 16 Grand Slam titles _ is tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with five victories at the ATP Finals, formerly known as the Masters Cup. A win Sunday would also tie Lendl’s record of 39 match victories in the event.
“I’m shocked every time that I’ve reached so many finals or won against so many players or whatever record it is,” Federer said. “It strikes me and makes me obviously very happy and very proud that I’ve been able to do it for so many years at the highest of levels.”
“Stefan was my idol,” Federer said. “So to achieve something that he achieved is obviously very nice. I don’t think it matters much, but it’s still very nice to get reminded that you equaled your idol’s or hero’s achievements.”
In a tournament where his biggest rivals complained of fatigue after failing to make it out of the group stage, Federer showed no signs of slowing down. The 30-year-old Swiss star extended his unbeaten streak to 16 matches after winning titles in Basel and Paris before coming to London.
Federer has played some of his best tennis of the year in London, and while he did not look as sharp against Ferrer as he did in his three group-stage victories, he never faced a break point. He broke the fifth-seeded Spaniard twice in the second set and converted his second match point with a forehand winner.
Ferrer came within two points of the first set six times in Federer’s service game when the Spaniard led 5-4. But he never earned a break point in a game that went to deuce five times, and Federer finally held when Ferrer sent a backhand passing shot wide. That marked a turning point, with Federer winning the next four games as well to take control.
By Donald Lambro
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