ATP Finals semifinal: Tsitsipas beats Federer to reach maiden summit clash

ATP Finals semifinal: Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated world no.3 Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 to reach the finals of the ATP Tour Finals in his debut appearance.

Roger Federer (left) is eyeing his seventh ATP Finals title, while Stefanos Tsitipas is looking to win his first-ever.   -  (IMAGES FROM GETTY IMAGES)

Welcome to Sportstar's highlights coverage of the first men's singles semifinal of the ATP Tour Finals match between Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas. This was Shivansh Gupta keeping you company through the game.

 

Thank you for joining us. Until tomorrow, for the finals, it's goodbye.

Today's second semifinal between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev will decide who Stefanos will face in the final. Will the defending champion Zverev make it to the summit clash again?

 

Federer had a better win percentage on first serve, but a poor conversion rate on the second.

Three double faults for Stefanos, none for Federer.

Six aces for Stefanos, three for Federer.

 

Hence, once again, it all boiled down to whether Federer was able to convert his break points. Today, he couldn't .

Well, what a game of tennis we just had. 1 hour 37 minutes of solid tennis from both ends, but the Greek was just too good. Like I mentioned earlier, Tsitsipas had saved break points against Federer during his victory at the 2019 Australian Open. Today, Tsitsipas saved 11/12 today.

GAME, SET AND MATCH STEFANOS TSITSIPAS! The Greek is absolutely elated and why not. Federer walks out after acknowledging the crowd.

 

SCORES READ [ROGER FEDERER - STEFANOS TSITSIPAS]

4-6: STEFANOS WINS! Inside out from Tsitsipas falls wide before Federer's return rams into the net. Federer goes up 15-30 with an error from Stef. He then outlast Stef in a long rally, who hits it over Federer. Break point no. 11 for Federer and he squanders it. The cross-court return falls wide and he is livid with himself. Stefanos saves 12th break point with an excellent serve. Then heads into the lead with match point number 1 as Federer's forehand return travels long.  HE SEALS THE VICTORY WITH AN ACE! WHAT A DREAM DEBUT FOR TSITSIPAS! Ninth singles final of his career.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS TO SERVE FOR THE MATCH AND A PLACE IN THE FINALS.

4-5: Now or never for Roger as he is serving to stay in the tournament. Makes it 15-0 with a great serve. Makes it 30-0; charges down the net and puts too much power in the forehand, which falls long. Then goes up 40-30 before Stefanos forces the game to deuce by drilling a short ball past Federer's backhand with a poereful forehand. Tsitsipas hands the advantage to Federer after hitting a return long and holds with a great serve down the T. 

3-5: Inch-perfect past Tsitsipas. Get what I did there? He looked second best in the rally, but emerged on top with an excellent backhand cross-court pass. Tsitsipas eventually closes out the game, thanks to an unforced error from Federer!

3-4: SUMPTUOUS DROP FROM FEDERER! He pulls it off from the baseline and Stef doesn't even bother to fetch it. Federer then pushes Stefanos deep on his backhand and runs to the net. Shut up the pass attempt with a regulation volley. 30-30 from 15-30 as Federer hits the backhand down the line return just wide of the side line. He eventually holds comfortably.

2-4: STEF HOLDS!  Federer miscues yet another backhand cross-court return as the ball flies into the stands. Now, Stef is starting to show that he is capable of keeping up the intensity. Federer is slowing down considerably in the rallies and that point was a testament. Tsitsipas is making Federer dart left and right and is in complete control of the rally. Federer is slow on the backhand return.

2-3: STEFANOS BREAKS FEDERER FOR THE THIRD TIME ! Break point no. 3 for Tsitsipas  after Federer's cross-court return falls wide. He saves as Stef hits that return into the net. Federer heads into the advantage only to hit the ball long once again. Stef has break point no.2 in the game and he wins it with a cross-court forehand winner, that was too quick for Roger to even get tO.

2-2: FEDERER BREAKS, FINALLY! Tsitsipas saves break point no. 9 with an overhead smash at the net, sending the Swiss maestro the wrong way. Stefanos then has the advantage. Federer brings himself back to deuce with an exquisite inside forehand winner that just grazes side line. Federer lights up the stadium with a typical Federer touch. Whips the forehand off Stef's slice to send Stef wide. The charges to the net and play an inch-perfect stop volley. CONVERTS BREAK POINT NO.10! He has finally won a break point tonight.

1-2: TSITSIPAS BREAK FEDERER ONCE AGAIN! A really sloppy great from Roger. Poor on the first serve and unforced errors from the baseline, as the returns flew wide and long or into the net, means Tsitsipas wins his second break point of the match.

1-1: Tsitsipas goes up 30-0 before serving his second double fault of the match. Federer goes behinf 15-40 as he mistimes a forehand down the line return, that flies over Stefanos. The Greek completes the hold with a peach of a backhand down the line. He's ruling the longer rallies and is not letting Federer play to his strengths at the net.

1-0: Federer hold to love in the first game of the second set.

 

What an intense game nine to close the first set. Phew! After that great a game, the players deserve a break. Stefanos saved six break points throughout the set and lost six set points in that finals game before finally drawing curtains on the game and set.

 

3-6: FIRST SET GOES TO STEFANOS TSITSIPAS! First point to Roger and the crowd gets right behind him. He makes it 0-30 and builds more pressure on the Greek. That was a wild, wild backhand from Tsitsipas, as it ended up in the stands. Federer commits yet another error as the balls smashes into the net. Stef follows it up with an excellent serve to Roger's backhand, who barely gets an y contact on the ball. 30-30. Point of the match so far and the O2 comes to life as Federer has another chance to break. What a rally! First a quality exchange of backhands from the baseline followed by one of forehands. Federer pushes Stef wide on his forehand and then charges to the net to put the point to bed. Sted saves another break point. Made Federer cover a lot of court there and made him play fetch. Tsitsipas then charges for a down the line forehand winner, sending the maestro the wrong way. Federer brings them level to deuce with a ridiculously good backhand down the line return of the serve. Stef then has a serve point but squanders it with the first double fault of the match.  Set point no. 2 and Federer saves it. This is marvellous tennis. Advantage Federer. A long rally that ends in Roger's favour. Stef's backhand falls wide. Federer fails to win his sixth break point as he returns it long. Stef has set point no.4 and what an incredible point from the legend. Another long exchange between the two from the baseline and Federer outlasts with Stef with a great backhand down the line winner. Set point no. 5 for Tsitsipas, who manages to keep his backhand down the line return just inside. Another deuce, no. 7 to be precise as  Tsitsipas's cross-court forehand falls wide. Set point no. 6 for the Greek as Federer returns the serve into the net. Deuce no. 8 as Stef's return falls outside the baseline. Set point no.7. Will he finally get it? Yes, he does!! Federer's return rams into the net as finally, the Greek closes out the game.

Stefanos Tsitsipas to serve for the first set.

2-5: LOVE-HOLD FROM ROGER! But Federer hasn't been at his service game best. No aces from the maestro yet and is not getting the kind of kick he usually does off his second serve.

2-5: THREE BREAK POINTS SQUANDERED BY FEDERER! A bit a help from the net. Federer charges to the net and takes Tsitsipas' backhand return on a volley. He had dig deep to slice it and the ball trickles over after clipping the top of the net. Next point, Tsitsipas rams a backhand volley into the net and then gives Federer three break points chances with a return falling long. Saves one as Federer's pass attempt to counter a charging Stef falls wide of the side line. Saves a second. A brilliant forehand winner where Federer stood rooted to his ground. Federer squanders the third break point as his backhand return falls wide. Too much power there. Stef then has the advantage with a vicious service to Federer's backhand, who hits it way out of bounds. Deuce no.2 as Federer stays strong in the long rally and Tsitsipas hits the return long. Advantage to Stef as Federer's forehand cross-court falls wide. Stef eventually closes out the game.

2-4: CONVINCING HOLD FROM THE SWISS! Makes its 3-0 with a breathtaking stop backhand stop volley at the net. The ball dies down as soon as it lands. He follows it up with a great serve to Tsitsipas' backhand, who fails to return it. Federer then hits two returns long, before closing out the game after Stef's error.

1-4: Tsitsipas starts with a  glorious one-two. A great serve deep to Federer's forehand, forcing a difficult return. The balls lands in his zone as Tsitisipas finishes the point with a backhand cross court winner. Federer makes it 30-15 with a ferocious backhand pass. Stef's inside out then lands just inside the right court sideline. Federer makes it 40-40 with a wonderful forehand winner. But rams a backhand return into the net at advantage to Tsitsipas to hand the Greek the game.

1-3: THATS MORE LIKE FEDERER! Swiss hold to love and he is on the board.  Backs up his vicious second serve with a backhand volley at the net. Tsitsipas then returns the second serve of next point into the net to concede the game.

0-3: Federer has already made more unforced errors than he did in the entire match against Novak Djokovic. Tsitsipas goes up a break with an ace at 40-15.

0-2: FEDERER IS BROKEN EARLY ! Early error from Federer. He pushed Stefanos long and forced a loopy return from him. He then backtracks for an overhead smash, but put it wide. 30-30 after Roger attacks the net with a backhand volley to Stefanos' backhand, who runs deep and fetches it. Tries a pass, but hits it long. Break point opportunity for teh Greek. Another overhead smash gone wrong. Rams it into the net and pays the price as Stef breaks his serve with a lovely down the line forehand winner.

0-1: DIFFICULT HOLD FOR TSITSIPAS! He saves an early breakpoint to hold. Federer starts with a poor forehand cross-court return to Stef's serve that falls wide. Follows it up wit a poor return that travelled long. Federer makes it 30-30 with a thunderous forehand. He stretched Tsitsipas for the return, who could barely get any contact on the slide. Federer goes into the lead with a beautiful pass down the line past Tsitsipas' backhand. Tsitsipas draws back level to deuce as Federer returns the second serve just long. Advantage to Tsitsipas after Federer hits a forehand drive from the baseline out of bounds. Deuce no.2 and that's the first glimpse of Federer magic. The return hits the clip and falls short. Federer charges to the net and gets the backhand cross-court return past Tsitsipas. Advantage to Tsitsipas as Federer rams the return into the net. Return falls long off the baseline and that's a hold from the Greek.

AND HERE WE GO!

 

Toss- Tsitsipas calls FedEx and Roger wins. Interestingly, he opts to receive.

World no.3 Roger Federer walks out and the the decibles at the O2 Arena rocket sky high. Easy to guess who is the crowd favourite.

Tsitsipas, world no. 6, is first.

The players have made their way out to the Centre Court.

LIVE UPDATES:

 

We are moments away from the first semifinal. Who do you think will win? Roger Federer or Stefanos Tsitsipas? Let us know on our Twitter and Facebook handles. Get a chance for your tweet to feature on the blog. Looking forward to from you all.

The former dropped two sets en route to the semi, while the latter has dropped just one.

 

 

PREVIEW:

Roger Federer defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to storm into his 16th semifinal at the ATP Tour Finals. This was the pair's first meeting after "THAT" Wimbledon 2019 final and Federer, this time, made sure that he did not squander match points.

Federer was back to his absolute best. He made just five unforced errors in the entire match. For someone who plays an extremely attacking and swashbuckling brand of tennis, it's a monumental effort.

Federer won 78 per cent of his service points and was not broken. In fact, he upped his ante as his average service speed increased by eight miles per hour 124 to 116 in previous matches.

The world no.3 Swiss will eyeing an 11th year-ender finals spot and a record seventh World Tour Finals title at the O2 Arena in London.

World no. 6 Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas has an uphill task to face against the Swiss Maestro, who is currently brimming with confidence.

However, the sixth seed Tsitsipas is no less high on confidence. He has only beaten Federer once, at the 2019 Australian Open, where he saved 12/12 break points to win the four-setter. He got off to a great start in his debut appearance at the tournament with 2/2 wins before losing to world no.1 Rafael Nadal on Friday.

In the post-match interview in the centre, Federer mentioned that once a player plays a couple of matches on the same court, it becomes a little easier to find the gaps and corners. His fierce display and pin-point placement against Djokovic was a testament to that.

Tsitsipas lost to Nadal in his last match in the tournament and the latter was more attacking. He received more balls inside the baseline in comparison to the Greek. Sixth seed will have to adapt against Federer, who plays the same brand of tennis, but on a much larger scale.

Federer likes to keep the rallies short and that's his strength. In order for Tsitsipas to beat Federer, he will have to keep the rallies going longer and prevent the Swiss great from approaching the net as much as he usually does.

Federer will end the year at number three in world rankings, which was threatened by Daniil Medvedev for a while. The Russian ended the tournament as the only player without any victory. Had he performed well, he would have displaced the Swiss from number 3. But, to be fair to Medvedev, he had a great year. Making it to six straight finals and jumping from number 20 in the rankings at the start of the year to number by the end of it, he will continue to be a threat to the Big Three next year as well.

 

ROAD TO THE SEMIFINALS:

Roger Federer:

Match 1: Lost to fifth seed Dominic Thiem 5-7, 5-7

Match 2: Beat eight seed Matteo Berrettini 7-6(2), 6-3

Match 3: Beat second seed Novak Djokovic 6-4,6-3

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas:

 

Match 1: Beat fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 7-6(5), 6-4

Match 2: Beat seventh seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-2

Match 3: Lost to first seed Rafael Nadal 7-6 (4), 4-6, 5-7

 

 

Head-to-head count: Federer leads Tsitipas 2-1

Federer and Tsitsipas have only met four times so far and the Swiss Maestro has a slender 2-1 lead over the Greek.

Federer had given Tsitipas a walkover in the quarterfinal of the 2019 Rome Masters, but it is to be noted that walkovers are not counted in the H2H count.

 

 

Previous meetings:

Basel 2019- Semifinal- Federer won 6-4,6-4

Dubai  2019- Final- Federer won 6-4,6-4

Australian Open 2019- Round of 16-Tsitipas won 6-7(11), 7-6(3), 7-5,7-6(5)

 

 

Here's at an interesting stat by the ATP:

Did You Know?
All four semi-finalists went through round-robin play with a 2-1 record. The last time none of the semifinalists had a 3-0 round-robin record was in 2009, the first year the ATP Finals was held at The O2 in London.

 

Where to watch the semifinal of the ATP Finals?

The semifinals of the ATP Finals can be streamed live on SonyLiv. It will also be telecast live on Sony ESPN.