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ATP Finals: Federer powers past Thiem to keep title hopes alive

ATP Finals: Federer powers past Thiem to keep title hopes alive

"I could win and still not make it, so from that standpoint it's not in my power", Federer said of his clash with Anderson who he lost to in an epic Wimbledon quarter-final this year. "So I'm very happy that that was the right decision and I was able to show a reaction from my first-round match".

The 28-year-old leads their head-to-head 3-1 and thumped him 6-3 6-1 in Vienna just a couple of weeks ago. You wait a whole year to play a match like that and it feels fantastic'.

There is still work to do for the second seed, however, especially as giant South African Kevin Anderson, who he plays at the conclusion of the group on Thursday, is in red-hot form.

But the close nature of those matches was a distant memory as Nishikori, who had beaten Federer in straight sets on Sunday, put his hopes of a semi-final spot in jeopardy with this tame surrender. "Even though I had a lead, I felt a sense of urgency throughout which I thought was really important because I wanted to get that win", Anderson said. I love playing in London and I had to remind myself what a privilege it is.

Thiem saved a break point in the opening game but he sent a forehand long to give Federer an early break and was broken again for 5-2 as Federer cruised to the opening set.

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"He was hitting the ball really well and it was making me impatient".

Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a return to Kevin Anderson of South Africa during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at the O2 arena in London, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

Unloading some searing ground-strokes, Anderson, aided by 14 unforced errors from Nishikori, cemented his advantage with two more breaks in the fourth and six games. "My first-round match here wasn't great, so today was better, and I need to keep that up against Kevin if I want to have a chance to stay here in London", Federer added.

Federer, 37, has beaten Nishikori in Shanghai and Paris in recent weeks but despite having the backing of a full house at the O2 Arena, he never really settled into a groove.The normally cool Swiss was warned by the umpire for ball abuse in the 12th game after Nishikori produced a staggering backhand victor down the line.

Overall the statistics made grim reading for Federer, who made a total of 34 unforced errors against 19 winners.Federer denied that cutting back on his schedule increased the pressure on him to do well at the tournaments he did play.