Tue, Nov 23, 2010 - Page 19 News List

TENNIS: Federer dominates Ferrer in London

AFP, LONDON

Switzerland’s Roger Federer poses with the Fans’ Favourite Award trophy presented to him during the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Roger Federer underlined his determination to finish the year on a high as the world No. 2 cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Spain’s David Ferrer in his opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.

Federer arrived in London for the prestigious end-of-year event, featuring the world’s top eight players, in the unusual position of not being the sport’s pre-eminent force after a relatively unsuccessful campaign by his high standards.

Although he started the season by winning the Australian Open, he lost his grip on the Wimbledon and French Open titles he won last year and failed to return to the US Open final.

However, of course, what constitutes a slump for Federer would still be a season to remember for most of his peers.

He had won 12 matches in a row before losing to Gael Monfils in the Paris Masters recently and if anything could put a spring in his step it was the sight of Ferrer across the net.

Ferrer, 28, had lost all 10 of his previous meetings with the Swiss star, including a defeat in the 2007 final of this event when it was staged in Shanghai.

Although Ferrer has returned to the top 10 for the first time in three years after reaching five finals and winning two titles this season, he was unable to subdue Federer despite a gutsy effort in the Group B clash.

“Looking at the scoreline, it doesn’t reflect how tough it was,” Federer said. “Usually 6-1, 6-4 kind of matches take an hour of play. Here, it took one hour, 25 minutes I think. There were many close games, especially in the second set. Possibly the first set could have gone faster too. But all in all, I’m really happy the way I was able to get out of the first match here, starting off with a feisty top 10 player is never easy. It’s sort of a first round, that’s why I’m really pleased with my performance.”

“I served very badly throughout the match and this was the key. With Roger, it is impossible if you serve badly,” Ferrer said. “In the first set, I played a little bit nervous. The second set I improved my game, but Roger served really well when I had one or two chances.”

Federer, who has won this title four times, wasted no time taking control as he unfurled a typically dazzling array of groundstrokes.

He broke in Ferrer’s first service game and then again two games later to open up a 4-0 lead.

Like the rest of the crowd, Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, watching from the stands after earlier seeing Manchester City thrash Fulham across London at Craven Cottage, couldn’t fail to be impressed by such a commanding display.

Ferrer briefly stemmed the tide with a break of his own, but Federer simply increased the tempo of play and broke again in a marathon sixth game, which included six deuces, before serving out the set.

Andy Murray made a perfect start to his bid to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

Murray was in fine form as he opened the annual end-of-season event, with the kind of dominant display that hinted the British No. 1 is capable of providing a home winner for the fans at London’s O2 Arena.

Soderling, seeded fourth, has had an impressive year, but fifth seed Murray was at his imperious best as he dismissed him in 1 hour, 20 minutes.

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