Sport

Federer back in the groove at Tour Finals

Federer back in the groove at Tour Finals”

Federer might have to find another gear on Tuesday, however, when he plays Germany's Alexander Zverev who marked his ATP Finals debut with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 defeat of Marin Cilic in the day's other Boris Becker Group match.

"I had a tactical plan with my team". He made it to the finale on the strength of his five titles this year.

A relaxing stroll around that famous course might have seem preferable to facing Federer, who hadn't lost a set in their three previous meetings and quickly took charge with a break in the first game.

"I missed one first serve in the first game", Sock said. "He put me in some awkward positions on some of those forehands".

Federer, the oldest qualifier since 1970, looked aghast as two break points went begging at 3-3, then another two at 4-4. He just couldn't convert them.

In the tiebreaker, Federer went ahead 3-2 with a mini-break, but Sock got it back. After another to make it 5-4, however, it was almost over.

Trouble is Roger Federer was on the other side of the net and Sock's magic moment proved in vain as the Swiss maestro spun a backhand victor past the stranded American.

The 25-year-old Sock, who was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, is already an established doubles player having won two majors, two Masters tournaments and even Olympic gold and bronze medals at the 2016 Games in Rio. I don't know, it's Roger I guess. He can do no wrong. Instead of taking a defensive stance, Sock turned his back to Federer as if to protect himself from a shot to body.

"Tennis is a very physical sport but the mental side is big too", Sock told CNN Sport's Alex Thomas after flying into London from Paris.

Augusta would've been nice but Sock is no doubt relishing the chance to compete against the tennis elite - including the likes of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal - at one of the biggest events of the year outside of the majors at London's O2. "That's what I should have aimed for".

His seven titles so far this season is his best return since he won eight in 2007 and few would bet against him matching that by winning the a first ATP Finals title since 2011.

He came into 2017 having missed half of last season due to fitness problems and was without a Grand Slam title since 2012.

Nadal is already guaranteed to finish as the year-end world number one for the first time since 2013, making the 31-year-old the oldest man to earn that honour. Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin also qualified, though Goffin played in the tournament a year ago as an alternate after Gael Monfils withdrew.

Having won the French and US Opens this year, Nadal has matched Federer's unexpectedly dominant run as the old rivals hoovered up all four of this year's Grand Slam crowns.

Nadal, twice a Tour Finals runner-up, is due to open his campaign against David Goffin on Monday, however the Spaniard admits he is still struggling with the knee problem that forced him to pull out of the recent Paris Masters.



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