LONDON: Roger Federer staged a superb fightback to reach the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals with a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5 victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday.
Federer had only once failed to reach the last four in 11 previous appearances at the season-ending event and he recovered from a set and a break down, and then 3-0 down in the final set, to subdue the Argentine fourth seed and maintain his impressive record.
The six-time Tour Finals champion qualified in second place in Group B behind defending champion Novak Djokovic and will face world number one Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s semifinals at London’s O2 Arena.
“A lot of coming from behind, trying to get back into the match, and it was amazing that I was able to pull it off,” Federer said.
“I could never play free flowing tennis. I fought hard, maybe got a bit lucky at times.”
After a disappointing year saw his ranking tumble to seventh in the world, Federer remains in with a chance of finishing the season on a high with a fourth successive appearance in the final of the Tour Finals.
“I don’t get a day off, I’ve got to back it up and be ready to go again tomorrow,” Federer added ahead of the 32nd installment of his epic rivalry with Nadal.
“I’ll try to make his life a bit difficult.”
Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, had beaten del Potro in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters last week, one of 14 victories in 19 previous meetings with the Argentine.
But del Potro got the better of the Swiss great in the Basel final last month and famously beat him in the 2009 US Open final.
With the crowd shouting their support for Federer, the Swiss gave his fans another moment to treasure as he completed his comeback and sealed the win after two hours and 26 minutes with a thunderous ace.