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Ferrer did finally manage a break to get back on serve at 3-2, but Federer didn’t allow another. Both were forced to save break points in the second set, however. Federer saved two, and Ferrer one.

Ferrer showed why he’s so tough to beat. He makes you hit the extra shot. He makes it physical,” Federer said. “You know that mentally he’s not going to go anywhere.”

Ferrer has a chance to overtake Rafael Nadal as the fourth-ranked player in the world, but he may need to win the title to achieve it.

“I don’t think about that because Rafa is injured. For me, I don’t care if I finish 4 or 5,” Ferrer said. “I am trying to do my best to have a great tournament here. And after here, then next week I will have a very important Davis Cup final.”

Tipsarevic was the first to be eliminated from the tournament. The Serb entered the ATP finals after retiring from his quarterfinal match at the Paris Masters because of illness.

“I wouldn’t really blame my loss on the sickness. I am generally feeling fine,” said Tipsarevic, adding that his lack of playing time was hurting his game. “I’m playing horrible. I’m playing worse than horrible. I’m playing the worst tennis that I played in a long time.”