Federer loses to Del Potro, faces Murray in semis

Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:53pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Towering Argentine Juan Martin del Potro snapped Roger Federer's three-year unbeaten sequence at the ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday to earn a semi-final against world number one Novak Djokovic at the season-ending showpiece.

Del Potro, fresh from beating the Swiss in the Basel final a fortnight ago, claimed a 7-6 4-6 6-3 victory at the O2 Arena to guarantee himself runner-up spot in Group B with a 2-1 record, the same as defending champion Federer who will meet Andy Murray for third time in London this year in the other semi-final.

Federer won his seventh Wimbledon title this year when he beat Murray in the final but a few weeks later the Briton gained revenge in the Olympic gold medal match.

The Swiss 31-year-old, winner of 12 consecutive matches at the tournament since a semi-final defeat by Nikolay Davydenko in 2009, had already qualified for the semis before walking on court to face del Potro and produced a patchy display.

David Ferrer beat Janko Tipsarevic 4-6 6-3 6-1 in the last round-robin match in the evening to also end with two wins and one defeat but the Spaniard missed out on sets countback.

The final day of group play began with seven scenarios still possible in Group B.

Del Potro's three-set win ended Ferrer's semi-final hopes but muddied the waters as far Sunday's schedule was concerned because the outcome of the Ferrer v Tipsarevic clash would bizarrely decide whether Federer or del Potro won the group.

Victory for Tipsarevic would have seen Del Potro top the group because of a better head-to-head record against Federer but Ferrer's victory and a three-way tie meant Federer 5-2 sets tally earned him the group winners' spot.   Continued...

Switzerland's Roger Federer hits a return to Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro during their men's singles tennis match at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London November 10, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth