Underdog Federer to come out swinging against Nadal

Sat Nov 9, 2013 2:20pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Roger Federer has never lost to great rival Rafael Nadal under a roof but said he will start as underdog in their semi-final clash at the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.

The Swiss has endured a lean year, adding only one title to his vast collection, but showed on Saturday that despite the creeping years he is far from a spent force when defeating Juan Martin del Potro to reach the last four at the o2 Arena.

Federer trailed throughout an exciting contest on one of the world's most distinctive indoor stages before digging out a 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5 victory to seal the runners-up spot in Group B.

His performance was a mixed bag, fluctuating between sheer brilliance and uncharacteristic errors, but he displayed the spirit of a great champion to pip del Potro at the post.

Now, the 32-year-old 17-times grand slam champion believes he can swing freely on Sunday when most people will expect Nadal to confirm his world number one status.

"I just have to have the right mindset to give it one last go, maybe play with a little less pressure than I have in previous matches with him," Federer, who has fallen 21-10 behind in overall meetings with the Spaniard.

"I just feel like I need to look at it more as being an underdog a little bit because of circumstances, because of my year, because of his year. Maybe that free swinging is what I kind of need to do a little bit more tomorrow."

Federer's schedule has been a heavy one with a final appearance in Basel, then a semi-final run in Paris before arriving in London for his 12th consecutive appearance at the ATP's annual season-ender.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return during his men's singles tennis match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London November 9, 2013. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh