Roger Federer booked his place in the ATP World Tour Finals for a record-tying 12th consecutive year when he dismissed South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France, on Wednesday.
The win meant former world No. 1 Federer, who started the week seventh in the ATP Race to London, made sure of finishing in the top nine. That is enough to earn him a spot in the finals since Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is out with a back problem.
Top seed Rafael Nadal also progressed to the third round in the French capital with a 7-5, 7-5 triumph over fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
By qualifying for the event every year since 2002, Federer equaled Ivan Lendl’s mark for the most successive appearances at the season-ending event.
“It’s one of the highlights for all the players, all the top 10, top 20 talk about that from the beginning of the year or during the off-season,” the Swiss player told a news conference. “Being among the very best is very enjoyable. Also it’s one of the tournaments where I haven’t had the greatest success.”
Two more places are still available for next week’s showdown in London and Federer’s compatriot, Stanislas Wawrinka, stayed on course to snatch one of them by beating Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Wawrinka, Frenchman Richard Gasquet and Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4, are the last three candidates for a spot in London.
Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych have already qualified for the eight-man event.
Wawrinka’s victory meant that Spaniard Nicolas Almagro was ruled out of the race. German Tommy Haas also dropped out after being beaten 6-2, 6-2 by fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Federer barely broke sweat against Anderson, breaking serve in the first game and never looking back as the South African made a series of unforced errors.
Nadal, who is aiming to bag one of the three Masters he has never won, broke serve in the 11th game of each set against Granollers to set up a meeting with last year’s runner-up, Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
“There is no easy opponent on a surface like this one, in a tough tournament like this one,” the eight-time French Open champion said. “But hopefully for my opponents I’m not going to be good news either.”
TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Simona Halep, Samantha Stosur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were straight-sets winners at the season-ending WTA Tournament of Champions on Wednesday.
Top-seeded Halep defeated seventh-seeded Alize Cornet of France 6-4, 6-4, with a second consecutive round-robin win in the Serdika Group to ease her way to the semi-finals in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The Romanian’s last match of the group stage will be against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who replaced injured Maria Kirilenko.
Former US Open champion Stosur swept to an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Russian Elena Vesnina in the Sredets Group, needing only 38 minutes to seal the opening set. Vesnina took a surprise 3-0 lead in the second set before Stosur stormed back to take the match.
In Wednesday’s last match, Russia’s Pavlyuchenkova defeated Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.