Federer and Zverev fight for supremacy at ATP Finals
Reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Roger Federer will seek both revenge and a second successive victory at the Nitto ATP Finals when he will take on World No. 3 Alexander Zverev in a crucial Group Boris Becker clash in London on Tuesday. Will the overwhelming favorite succeed in overpowering the towering German or will it be Zverev who will silence the army of his fans by defeating the great Swiss?
Federer launched his campaign for a record seventh ATP World Tour Finals crown with a comprehensive straight-sets win over Paris Masters winner Jack Sock. The World No. 2 got off to a flying start in the match as he broke Sock in the opening game with an array of delightful shots from both wings. A wonderfully timed backhand down the line winner was the highlight of the game as it showed that a vintage Federer had turned up for the contest.
The second set though was a see-saw battle between the two with Roger showing his frustration as he failed to capitalize on any of five break chances he got. However, he still managed to do enough when the need arose as he stepped on the gas to seal a 6-4, 7-6 win. He would look to be more on the money in such situations against Zverev as the 20-year-old has the firepower to hurt Federer if he is unable to grab his opportunities.
The good things that Federer did in his match against Sock were – he never faced a break point on his serve in the contest, won 90% points behind his first delivery. But, it was the statement that he gave after his win over Sock that would have been worrying Zverev a lot.
Federer said: “I’m happy that I was able to come out today and had actually good energy. This is the best I’ve felt since the Del Potro final (in Basel). I’m very happy to see that I didn’t have to pay the price for taking it easy and resting and recovering. But then turning it up the last few days got me in shape for today. Now I think I’m in the tournament. There’s no more turning back. Just full steam ahead every match that comes.”
Like Federer, who has had a great year in terms of results, Zverev’s season has been quite phenomenal as well. Hands down, Zverev has been the third best player on the tour after Roger and Rafa. He has attained the third position both in the rankings as well as the number of titles won in 2017. While Federer has captured seven trophies, Nadal has secured six titles and Zverev has succeeded in winning five titles.
Those five title victories also feature a stunning Rome Masters title win over former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and the Montreal Masters triumph over an ailing Federer. And, the confidence he has gained by beating the very best players of the sport showed in his game when he came back from a set and a break down to beat the former US Open champion Marin Cilic in his ATP Finals debut on Sunday.
Head-to-head: Federer and Zverev have faced each other four times in the past with the each of them winning two matches. They have shared their 2017 battles as well with Federer giving Zverev a lesson in grass-court tennis on the lawns of Halle and Sascha outclassing the master in the final of the Canadian Open in Montreal. But, the big asterisk to that victory is the fact that Federer was suffering with a back injury which hampered his movement and allowed Zverev to dictate the terms of play. No such injury seems to be troubling the legend at the moment and when he is fit he is generally the favorite in most of the matches.
This was even echoed by Zverev, who said: “I think anyone beating Federer in this group has a good chance of passing. But he’s the favorite definitely in all of the matches he plays. I played him a few times this year now. I played him three times, if you count the Hopman Cup match we played. Obviously, all of them were great matches. Hopefully it can be another one.”