Federer hangs tough to set up Djokovic showdown
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Six-times champion Roger Federer survived a late-night Swiss semi-final thriller against Stanislas Wawrinka on Saturday to set up an ATP World Tour Finals showdown against Novak Djokovic.
After a week of one-sided group stage action at London's O2 Arena, the season-ender burst to life with world number one Djokovic battling past Japan's Kei Nishikori after a mid-match meltdown before Federer saved four match points in a near three-hour duel with compatriot Wawrinka.
Federer eventually prevailed 4-6 7-5 7-6(6) against the man he will join forces with when Switzerland take on France in next week's Davis Cup final.
Djokovic, bidding for a third consecutive season-ending title having already secured the number one ranking, beat Asian trailblazer Nishikori 6-1 3-6 6-0 after losing his cool with another capacity crowd at the O2 Arena.
The real drama was saved to last, however.
Federer, sublime in a 6-0 6-1 thrashing of home favourite Andy Murray in his final group match on Thursday, was the big favourite to claim a 15th victory in 17 career clashes with Wawrinka, but he was in for a rollercoaster ride.
Australian Open champ Wawrinka seemed determined to tear up the script, which had Federer and Djokovic lined up to contest the final match of the ATP season on Sunday.
He outplayed 17-times grand slam champion Federer in the opening set and went toe-to-toe in the second before cracking in the 12th game when a missed smash gave Federer three set points. Continued...