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Roger Federer – World Tour Finals contenders

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Originally published on: 16/11/10 22:13

Age: 29 (August 8 1981)
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
ATP ranking: 2nd
Qualified: 2nd 
Season best: Winner – Australian Open, Masters 1000 Cincinnati, Stockholm, Basle Runner – Masters 1000 Madrid, Halle, Masters 1000 Canada, Masters 1000 Shanghai
Season win-loss record: 60-13
Prize money (2010): $5,068,289
Record vs. top eight: Rafael Nadal 7-14; Novak Djokovic 12-6; Andy Murray 5-8; Robin Soderling 14-1; Tomas Berdych 9-3; David Ferrer 10-0; Andy Roddick 20-2
2010 Grand Slam record: Australian Open W; Roland Garros QF; Wimbledon QF; US Open SF
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals best: Making eighth appearance; winner in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007

Season review: Despite failing to defend his Wimbledon and Roland Garros crowns, it was hardly a disappointing season for the Swiss, who came away with another Grand Slam title and secured another three tour titles to boot.

After a semi-final defeat in Doha, the Swiss entered the Australian Open hoping to erase the tears of sadness 12 months ago with a fourth Melbourne triumph. Despite dropping sets against Igor Andreev, in the first round, and then Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals, Federer was in phenomenal form. With Andy Murray also in brilliant shape, a hotly anticipated final was rather one sided in the end as Federer proved to be the special one again, sweeping to his 16th Grand Slam title.

Federer struggled to maintain that level soon after, losing to Marcus Baghdatis (Indian Wells), Tomas Berdych (Miami) and then suffering a first round exit in his opening clay court event of the year in Rome to Ernests Gulbis. Federer was expected to cruise to the Estoril Open title soon after, but he was humbled in the semis by defending champion Albert Montanes.

The Magic Box in Madrid seemed to spark Federer back to life. He battled past Gulbis and David Ferrer before a remarkably rare air shot on the last point marked defeat to Rafael Nadal in a repeat of the 2009 final.

On to Roland Garros, where he was looking to defend his title, but instead, the event marked the end of one of his proudest records. Before the French Open, the Swiss had made a remarkable 23 successive semi-finals, but once again it was Robin Soderling, who so memorably dispatched Nadal the year before, threw the record books out the window to stun Federer.

Another record ended in Halle, where Federer unexpectedly lost to Lleyton Hewitt in a thrilling final to end a winning streak at the tournament that began in 2002.

It was thought that Wimbledon, a place where Federer has dominated for nearly a decade, would revitalise his season. Things nearly went from bad to disastrous in his first round encounter with Alejandro Fella, as Federer was forced to come from two sets down to defeat the Colombian. Things didn’t get m

uch better in the second round, where he was nearly forced to five sets again, this time by then world No.152 Ilija Bozoljac. Federer managed get his game together to reach the quarters but Tomas Berdych proved too strong and powered past the Swiss.

The mid-season break did the world of good for Federer, who came back for a brilliant end to 2010 to secure his place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. It began in Toronto where he reached the final, losing to Andy Murray, before he captured his first title since the Australian Open in Cincinnati.

Suddenly, Federer looked close to his supreme best and even produced another ‘tweener’ in his straight sets opening round victory over Brian Dabul. The three set wins continued until he met Novak Djokovic in the semis. The Serb, who lost to Federer at the same stage in 2009, was in top form and managed to gain revenge in five sets.

Finishing runner-up to Murray in Shanghai and then securing a record 65th career title in Stockholm to surpass Pete Sampras’ 64 titles, Federer continued his good form. He soon notched up his 66th, reclaiming his Basel crown after defeating Djokovic in the final. An epic 6-7(7) 7-6(1) 6-7(4) loss to Gael Monfils at the Paris Masters halted him from reaching a fourth successive final, but it proved to be his best run at the tournament all the same.

Last year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals: After winning Wimbledon that year, Federer looked to transfer his London form east to the O2 Arena. Instead he struggled against all three of his opponents but managed to get through to the semis.

Kicking off against Fernando Verdasco, he recovered from a set down to win, before repeating the feat against Andy Murray. He then lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in a repeat of the US Open final, but his earlier wins saw him through to the semis alongside the Argentine. In the last four, Federer faced Davydenko, who he had never lost to in 12 career meetings, but the eventual champion produced a scintillating display to down Federer’s title charge.

Chances: With his strong record on the indoor courts and a favourable round robin draw, Federer is once again the man to beat in London.

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