Roger Federer shrugged off erratic play Tuesday to win emphatically the third set of the match against Alexander Zverev and book a spot in the semi-final of the ATP Tour Finals in London.
Federer and Zverev had shared the first two sets, 7-6 5-7, but in the third set, the Swiss maestro unleashed his full artistry, deploying a variety of serves, slices and shots to stun the 20 year-old German 6-1.
Federer, who is 36 years old is now into the semi-finals for the 14th time at the Nitto ATP Finals.
“I’m extremely happy… It’s been a tough group so to be there in two matches is great,” Federer said.
His win clears up the Group Boris Becker qualification scenarios as well. Marin Cilic, who lost to Jack Sock on Tuesday to fall to 0-2, is eliminated. Either Sock or Zverev will now join Federer in the semi-final.
Both will meet on Thursday, while Federer will meet Cilic.
Earlier, Jack Sock had lived up to his childhood nickname of “Showtime” by producing a dramatic comeback triumph over the erratic Marin Cilic to keep his hopes alive in the ATP Finals on Tuesday.
The American, making his first appearance in the season climax, produced a courageous display, emerging from the brink of defeat to prevail 5-7 6-2 7-6(4) in London’s O2 Arena.
“My coach nicknamed me ‘Showtime’ when I was young because I always love to play in front of people. There’s always a lot going on but it keeps it fun,” Sock told the crowd. “I don’t even know what I‘m doing sometimes!”
In a show-stopping finale with both players desperate to triumph after losing their opening matches in the round-robin format, it was the American who lived up to his moniker, delivering a spectacular tide-turning winner when a mini-break down at 4-3 in the decisive tiebreak.
Cilic had appeared to have been hugely fortunate with what looked set to be a winner off a net cord but Sock chased it down and scooped up a backhand winner that Cilic described as “unbelievable”.
Cilic, who had also blown a fine chance of a win over Alexander Zverev on Sunday when leading 3-1 in the deciding set, once again capitulated when 3-0 up in the decider, leaving his hopes of making the semi-finals looking bleak.
Sock, who had been beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer on Sunday, kept his cool to prevail after a compelling 2 hours 27 minutes contest.
Ultimately, the more experienced Cilic proved just too erratic, mixing his 35 outright winners with 37 unforced errors.