Roger Federer rebounds to keep ATP Finals hopes alive

Kristopher Nichols
November 18, 2018

Kei Nishikori bowed out of the ATP Finals with a whimper just four days after his shock win over Roger Federer.

There is nothing flashy about the 32-year-old but after winning his first four sets at the O2 Arena with exemplary tennis it would be a mistake to rule him out of claiming the title at the first time of asking. "I'm not used to losing and then coming back to play, it was a good test".

It was a great challenge for me and I'm happy with my attitude.

Federer is still not at his fluent best but he didn't have to be against Thiem although he will have to raise his game based on Anderson's form as he dispatched Nishikori 6-0, 6-1 earlier on Wednesday.

Nishikori took a lengthy break before the start of the second set, but it made no difference as Anderson ruthlessly raced to a 5-0 lead and moved to within one game of joining Federer in the history books.

"I don't feel like I need to comment on this".

However, the 20-time grand slam champion still needs to beat the in-form Kevin Anderson, who knocked him out at Wimbledon and who dropped just one game against Nishikori in Tuesday afternoon's match, if he is to clamber out of the group.

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Anderson started the match putting immediate pressure on the Nishikori serve, making a lot of meaningful returns and keeping the Japanese on the run, earning himself three break points.

It was a landmark moment for Anderson, who has set a new career-high of 47 victories in a calender year. "My group's pretty tough, I've got Nishikori, Thiem and Anderson". I felt that way today.

Thiem looked nervous against the 20-time Grand Slam victor and handed his opponent a break in the first game of the second set.

"I was growing in confidence and he sort of probably was going a little the other way". Sometimes I get asked, "do you want to play day or night?' Sometimes they go ask the agent".

The Japanese world number nine looked poised to end the season on a high after taking the scalp of six-time victor Federer in their opening round-robin match at London's 02 Arena.

But the 28-year-old had climbed back to ninth in the world thanks to a strong second half of a campaign, featuring a semi-final appearance at the US Open. "Maybe it's the round-robin format that got to me", Federer said.

Anderson looks nearly certain to reach the semi-finals even if he is beaten by Federer on Thursday.

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