In a virtual quarterfinal contest between two champions at the O2 Arena at the Nitto ATP Finals 2019, Roger Federer ousted Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in straight sets to qualify for the semi-finals for the 16th time in his career at the year-ending finals.
The full-house at the O2 Arena did not hide their emotions as Federer, just as he always did, found a familiar ally in the massive crowd support and riding on their unanimous backing, produced a clinical effort to record one of his biggest victories of 2019 to storm into the final-four of the ATP Finals.
In the upcoming semi-final, Federer will meet the young Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas as he seems determined to advance to the final in pursuit of signing off the year on a high as he fancies winning the title at the season-ending championships.
Tsitsipas was the first member from his group to qualify for the semi-finals following his straight-set victories over Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, but his winning form was jolted by a resurgent Rafael Nadal, who produced a come-from-behind victory over the young Greek in their final round-robin match.
On the ATP Tour so far, Federer leads Tsitsipas 2-1 and won the pair’s most recent meeting when he sent the young Greek packing 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-final at the Swiss Indoors earlier this October. After his sensational loss to Tsitsipas in the fourth round at the Australian Open at the beginning of this season, Federer seems to have recovered well against his young opponent and has not even dropped a set in their two contests that followed.
As far as Federer is concerned, his win against Djokovic could not have come at a better time as a loss at the ATP Finals against the Serb would have dented his confidence further going into the 2020 season.
Federer’s stats against Djokovic write an immaculate story of his dominance as his 12 aces coupled with 81% win on his first serve and 67% win on his second serve are staggering figures which will give him great self-belief and confidence as he prepares to take on Tsitsipas in their upcoming semi-final.
While this year’s Grand Slam winners, Nadal and Djokovic have already made their way home following their elimination from the Nitto ATP Finals, Federer remains the only member from the Big 3 to find a spot in the knockout round at this year’s Tour Finals.
After a disappointing loss against Thiem in his opening round, Federer has once again risen in the face of adversity, comprehensively winning his next two ties. In spite of going through a number of painful losses this year, he starts as a favourite to win the ATP Finals title from here on and it would need an outstanding effort from Tsitsipas if he wishes to stop Federer from marching one step closer towards his 7th title.
In what promises to be an absorbing contest yet again between the master and his disciple, Federer has all the momentum behind him and would inarguably enjoy a tremendous crowd support in the upcoming semi-final. On the other hand, Tsitsipas would hope to bounce back from his disappointing loss against the Spaniard in what was the longest match of this year’s ATP Finals so far.
Being idolized by Tsitsipas, Federer can get a taste of his own medicine if the young Greek can play at his highest level and it is imperative that the Swiss maestro gains an early advantage in the contest as longer the match stretches, the more it will favour Tsitsipas.
Can Federer tame Tsitsipas to step an inch closer towards his title in London? Or will the Swiss maestro blink in the semi-final for the younger generation to shine at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals?
A nerve-wrecking, pulsating and intriguing contest seems to await us as Federer and Tsitsipas are set to face off in the first semi-final on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.
Prediction: Roger Federer to win in three sets.