Roger Federer is into his second straight final after beating Ivan Ljubicic today 7-6(5), 6-2 in Stockholm. In the Sunday final, the Swiss will meet Florian Mayer who saved a matchpoint in a 4-6, 6-4 7-6(3) thriller over Jarkko Nieminen.
Federer was behind early as Ljubicic served for the first set at 5-4. But Federer broke and ran off eight of the last 11 games.
“I had to be patient against Ivan in the first set, I missed some shots and some chances,” said Federer who improved to 13-3 career against Ljubicic. “But after I pulled out the first set with the tiebreaker, things went better for me.
“I’ve was feeling better about my game as the match went on. In the second set he was perhaps forcing the issue and making more errors.”
Federer is just 2-4 in ATP finals this year after falling last Sunday to Andy Murray in the Shanghai championship match.
But a title tomorrow will give Federer the 64th of his career which would tie him with Pete Sampras at No. 4 on the Ope Era title leaderboard.
Federer has won both prior meetings with Mayer in 2005 and 2006 in straight sets.
In Moscow, Marcos Baghdatis overcame a two-break deficit to turn away Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) and reach his third final of the year. Awaiting the Cypriot Sunday is Serb Viktor Troicki who easily beat Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-3.
“I was feeling a bit stiff, playing defensive, only my serve was working,” Baghdatis said. “But I kept fighting and at 3-0 down in the third I saw some change in him and I started playing more aggressively.
“I expect to play better. He (Troicki) is very tough, he was close to beating Nadal in Tokyo, he beat Tsonga this week and he is full of confidence.”
In their only career meeting, Baghdatis beat Troicki earlier this year in Sydney.
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