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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday November 14, 2017


Roger Federer was forced to go the distance but eventually prevailed over Alexander Zverev at the World Tour Finals.

Photo Source: Julian Finney/Getty

Roger Federer survived the ebbs and flows of a difficult encounter with 20-year-old Alexander Zverev and emerged victorious, 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-1, to book his spot in the last four of the Nitto ATP Finals for the 14th time in 15 appearances.

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The six-time champion had to battle to keep the rising Zverev at bay. After scrapping from 4-0 down in the first set tiebreaker and converting his third set point to take the opener, he squandered a break lead in the second set and eventually dropped the stanza when Zverev converted his third set point with Federer serving at 5-6, 30-40.

But the German’s momentum proved to be short-lived, and Federer used his obvious advantage on the forehand side to elicit more errors from the 20-year-old that led to three breaks of serve in the final set and a cozy finish.

The Swiss improves to 3-2 lifetime against Zverev and avenges a loss to him at this year’s Rogers Cup final in Montreal. Federer improves to 54-12 lifetime at the ATP finals, and 51-4 on the season. Federer hit six aces and had to save nine of 11 break points. At times during the two hour and 12 minute encounter both players lost the script. But it was Federer who pulled it together when he needed it most to dominate the decider. He won 11 of 15 points against Zverev's second serve in the final set and converted all three of his break opportunities.

He will face Marin Cilic in a meaningless round robin affair on Thursday before the semifinals take place on Saturday. The Swiss owns a combined 21-1 record against his possible semifinal opponents with his only loss coming to Dominic Thiem. He is 6-0 against David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov, and 7-0 against Roberto Bautista Agut.

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the event due to injury after falling to Goffin in three sets on Monday.

Zverev drops to 1-1 in his London debut and he will face fellow London debutante Jack Sock on Thursday, with the winner making it through to the semifinals.

Sock upset Marin Cilic, 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) in the first singles match on Tuesday.


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