Roger Federer battled past Matteo Berrettini 7-6(2), 6-3 in straight sets on Tuesday to open his account at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.
After losing to Dominic Thiem in the opening encounter, the World No. 3 Federer had to win this match in order to keep his hopes alive of making it past the round-robin stage.
And he did just that.
Both Federer and Berrettini started with strong service games. The eight-seed Berrettini racked up more forehand winners and an improved service game from his loss to Novak Djokovic helped him hold all his service games till 5-5.
Third-seed Federer notched up more aces and held the next game to make it 6-5. In game 12, he had an opportunity to break the Berrettini’s serve and clinch the set, but the highest ranked Italian bailed himself out of trouble to force the tie-breaker.
Federer went up a mini-break and eventually won the tie-breaker 6-2 to win the first set in 43 minutes.
Berrettini’s woeful run at his debut Tour Finals worsened when he dropped the second set, leaving himself with little to nil chances of progressing through.
Federer broke the World No.8, who was the last player to qualify for the tournament, in the opening game of the second set and followed it up with a love-hold to go up a break at 3-1. However, he was made to work by the Italian in game eight when he saved a break point to bag the game.
Berrettini squandered three break points and he was made to pay as Federer broke Berrettini’s serve again to take the second set 6-3 and open his account in London.
This was only their second meeting. Federer stormed past Berrettini 6-1,6-2,6-2 in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon 2019.
-Federer chasing record 7th title-
Participating in the year-ended for the 17th time, Federer has bagged the title six times, one more than second-best Novak Djokovic. Federer has failed to make it to the semifinals of the tournament only once in his career. The Swiss maestro has appeared in 10 finals and interestingly, lost all of his last three to Djokovic.
There is one more record up for grabs this year. Rafael Nadal is seeking a first title at the Tour Finals, which would give him the singles tennis box set of all four Grand Slams, Olympic gold and the ATP Finals – the first man to do so. Djokovic and Federer are missing the Olympics singles title.
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