Classy Federer on brink of semis, Murray stays afloat

Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:42pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Roger Federer's class shone like a beacon over the murky waters of round-robin tennis with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Kei Nishikori at the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday before Andy Murray stayed afloat by defeating Milos Raonic.

The 33-year-old Swiss maestro, bidding for a seventh title at the ATP's year-ending shootout, oozed confidence as he racked up his second consecutive victory in Group B.

However, Murray's 6-3 7-5 defeat of big-serving Raonic means that all scenarios are still possible going into Thursday's matches when group leader Federer faces Murray and winless Raonic takes on Asian trailblazer Nishikori.

Home favourite Murray, beaten by Nishikori on Sunday, had the added pressure of knowing that defeat to Raonic would have eliminated him but the world number six delighted a capacity crowd in the O2 Arena with a steadfast display.

Should Federer win a set against Murray on Thursday he will definitely progress to the semi-finals while Murray needs a straight sets victory to be all but guaranteed a last-four slot.

Nishikori, Asia's first qualifier for the prestige event, would also be well-placed if he beats Raonic with ease, while Canadian Raonic needs a straight sets win to stand any chance of reaching the semis.

Rather than needing calculators and algebra, Federer prefers to let his racket do the math and he was precise again on Tuesday as he outclassed U.S. Open runner-up Nishikori.

After six round-robin matches here in London there is yet to be a three-setter, but Federer's 69-minute masterclass against Nishikori kept the capacity crowd enthralled.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates defeating Kei Nishikori of Japan in their tennis match at the ATP World Tour finals at the O2 Arena in London November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville