On Friday night, the semifinal line-up completely emerged in the prestigious season-ending finale at O2 in London, where Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals will conclude on Sunday. The last man to enter the last four in men’s singles was Stanislas Wawrinka, who got the better of Marin Cilic in three set 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori also ensured their places in the semifinals on Thursday and Friday. While Djokovic and Federer didn’t have to break sweat in their matches against Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray respectively, Nishikori needed three sets before beating David Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Incidentally Ferrer came as a perfunctory replacement for Milos Raonic, who pulled out mid-way through the tournament due to injury. In Saturday’s semifinals, Djokovic will take on Nishikori while Federer will play compatriot Wawrinka for the places in the final on Sunday. In the men’s doubles first semifinal on Saturday, I Dodig/M Melo will meet L Kubot/R Lindstedt, while in the other semifinal the Bryan Brother will play against J Benneteau / E Roger-Vasselin.
After the Canadian Milos Raonic pulled out of the tournament, Nishikori had to play new man David Ferrer on Thursday night and needed to beat the Spaniard for still retaining his chance of making it to the last four. The condition was Murray should lose to Federer on Friday. That happened and the Japanese made to the ATP world tour’s last four. If Murray had beaten Federer in two sets, Nishikori would have gone out of the reckoning.
Kei Nishikori fought hard after losing the first set 4-6 against David Ferrer in his last Group B match. But the doughty Japanese staged a remarkable comeback by breaking the Spaniard in the opening game of the second set. After that the set went on serves with Nishikori taking it 6-4. Nishikori broke again early in the third set and reeled out 5 of the next 6 points to seal a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory in just under 2 hours. But it did not mean that Japanese had made it to semifinals. His chances rested on the result of game between Roger Federer and Andy Murray on the following day.
Murray obliged Nishikori as he suffered his heaviest defeat ever in ATP World Tour Finals. The Scot was up against the master craftsman Federer, whose fantastic performance left no room for Murray to make any mark. Against a completely dumb-founded Murray, Federer cruised through 6-0, 6-1 in an emphatic fashion. The result was a great delight for Kei Nishikori, who found himself in the last four courtesy a virtuoso performance from Roger Federer.
In the other match on Thursday, defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-0. Wawrinka began with a bang and took a 2-0 lead in the first set. But the 2014 Wimbledon champion won the next 12 out of 14 games and made life difficult for Wawrinka. On Friday, however, Wawrinka defeated Marin Cilic in three sets and since Tomas Berdych had already beaten Cilic in straight sets, Wawrinka needed to win only three games to enter the last four. Despite the minor task at hand, Wawrinka began authoritatively and produced some clinical winners. He won the first easily but his concentration wavered in the second as Cilic resisted sternly and forced the third set by taking the second 6-4. In the third set, Cilic held his opening service game and took a game off Wawrinka to lead 2-1. But Wawrinka came up some stunning display and eventually won 6-3 4-6 6-3.
Djokovic needed just one set from Berdych on Friday but the world’s no.1 player demolished the Czech 6-2, 6-2 to set up the semifinal clash with Japan’s Kei Nishikori on Saturday. In the other semi-final, Roger Federer will play Stanislas Wawrinka.
In men’s doubles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, the three-time winner in ATP World Tour Finals reached the semi-finals after they finished Group-A with a 2-1 record on Friday by beating Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares. It was a hard-fought encounter for the top seeds against third seeds Peya and Soares with the first set going to five deuce-point games. But the Bryans targeted the inconsistent Soares in the tie-breaks and won at 7-6, 7-6. On Saturday, the Bryans will meet fourth seeds Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the second semi-finals. The other men’s pair to reach semifinals was the Polish-Swedish team of Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt. They completed the round-robin play in Group with a 3-0 record with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over fifth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 88 minutes. For a place in the final, Kubot/Lindstedt will play the first semifinal against Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, who were placed second in Group B.