ATP Finals | Roger Federer defeats Marin Cilic, Jack Sock gets the better of Alexander Zverev

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Roger Federer has beaten Marin Cilic 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-1 to maintain his perfect record at the ATP Finals at London’s O2 Arena. Later in the day, American Jack Sock beat German third seed Alexander Zverev, in a winner takes all, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to reach the last four of the tournament.

Federer and Cilic met for the first time since the one-sided Wimbledon final encounter, earlier this year, in which the Swiss player secured his 19th Grand Slam title. Federer failed to convert one of three break points in the opening game of the match which led the opening set to be decided via a tie breaker. It was Cilic who took the initiative as he got the early mini-break but with Federer levelling things up at 4-4 it took a beautiful backhand volley at 5-5 for the fifth seed edge ahead again in a set he would eventually win 7-5 in the tie breaker.

In the second set, both Cilic and Federer had break point opportunities but failed to take the match by the scruff of the neck. However, it was the experienced Swiss maestro who finally broke serve in the 10th game of the set to level the match up with the scoreboard reflecting 6-4 in his favour. The third set was reminiscent of the Wimbledon final as Federer broke his opponent twice in the three service games to keep his perfect record going at the season Finale. 

In the other match of the day, eight seeded Sock won 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to claim the second spot in the Boris Becker Group ahead of Zverev and set up a semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov. Federer had already qualified as the top seed after his wins over Zverev and Sock. Saturday’s semi-final line-up will be completed by the winner of the Pete Sampras Group match which will be played between Dominic Thiem and David Goffin on Friday.

Sock admitted that he did not believe that he would be able to clinch his place in the final four when he began his run in the Paris Masters. The American successfully drew errors from his opponent and his tactical game plan of slicing his backhand gave him the edge in the first set. In the second set, the 20-year-old Zverev got an early grip, by wrong-footing his opponent with a forehand and took a 2-0 lead. Sock’s challenge faded inexplicably over the next five games and eventually ended up winning handing the initiative to the German. The youngster looked set to take his expected place in the semis when he fought back from 4-1 down to level in the decider, but the American clinched the last two games to continue his surprise journey.

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