Federer completes Fish Finals duck
Originally published on: 24/11/11 16:09
Roger Federer completed his clean sweep of Group B after condemning Mardy Fish to a third straight defeat at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Already the champion of the group regardless of the outcome following opening wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Rafael Nadal, the world No.4 treated the tie as anything but a dead rubber during a 6-1 3-6 6-3 triumph over the world No.8.
“I feel I give a hundred percent every time I step on the court,” said the Swiss, even if he did admit that victory in a dead rubber was slightly more difficult to come by. “I definitely struggled a bit more today, but I thought that was more due to the circumstances.
“[I] still have to give credit to Mardy. The first set wasn’t as one-sided as the score suggested, and the second set he played great. I was happy to get the crucial break in the third and maybe cruise a bit more.”
Defeat meant for a disappointing thanksgiving for the American, who had hoped to cap a positive season – that had seem him crack the top 10 and reach his first Wimbledon quarter-final – with a flourish at the O2.
“Bottom line is I’m going to go away 0-3, which is hard,” admitted Fish. “But I had a great experience just being part of this. It gives you a lot of ammunition to want to come back next year.”
Federer, who had negotiated a stern test from Fish when the pair met in Cincinnati earlier in the season, looked odds on for his seventh win in their eight meetings when he motored through the first set in just 32 minutes after throwing in just four unforced errors, while Fish clocked up 17.
But determined to put up a fight after being edged out by Nadal and taught a lesson by Tsonga in his first two battles, Fish forced an early break in the second set and did enough to bring the scores level.
By the match’s end, the determined American No.1 had struck 33 winners – five more than Federer – but the Swiss proved more consistent, ultimately bagging the decisive break in the second game of the decider by enticing Fish to the net with a chipped sliced backhand before firing a forehand past the onrushing American.
Victory was assured after an hour and 47 minutes for the defending champion, who, on current form at least, is favoured to surpass Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with a record-breaking sixth year-end title on Sunday.