ATP London Semifinals Set With Federer v Murray, Djokovic v Del Potro; Picks And Pans
The last four are set at the ATP Finals in London this on Sunday. And no surprises to speak of. After six days of round robin rumbles, tournament favorites and group winners Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are joined by Juan Martin Del Potro and Briton Andy Murray.
Earlier today Del Potro snuffed out Federer for a second straight time indoors this fall season. With Federer’s semifinal spot already in hand, there wasn’t much for the Swiss to play for while Del Potro needed the victory and got it 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
“[The] important [thing] is to move on right now, to be quite honest, not talk too much about this match for me,” Federer said. “Mentally, it’s important to look ahead and rest because it’s a quick turnaround for tomorrow. I tried everything I could and was a bit frustrated at times, but it shouldn’t affect me tomorrow.”
Added Del Potro on the big win, “It’s a surprise for me now. I just was thinking about my game, trying to beat him and go to the semis. Here I am feeling confidence with my game. My serve is working really well. Maybe the surface helps to play short rallies, to be aggressive all the time. That, for my game, is a very good advantage.”
And then David Ferrer, who was out of the competition after Federer lost, turned away Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 to give Roger to the top position in the group – Federer, Ferrer and Del Potro all finished 2-1 but Ferrer lost out because of his set win/loss.
With Ferrer’s win, Federer meets Murray. But first Sunday it’s Djokovic against Del Potro.
Novak Djokovic vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
“I don’t know who is the No. 1 favorite. Djokovic, Murray or Federer can win the tournament,” said Del Potro. “I can tell you, I’m the No. 4 for sure. Anything can happen. I beat Federer, Novak and Andy long time ago, so maybe if I have luck, I can repeat here.”
And he’ll need that luck. Djokovic has won six of eight in this series and he just beat Del Potro handily twice this summer on hardcourts at the US Open and Cincinnati. Novak also seems to have his focus back after his father was ill before the tournament.
“Good news every day,” Djokovic said referring to his father’s improving health. “Makes me happier, makes me play more relaxed on the court. I switch off on the tennis court. I try to think only about the match. And it’s been working well so far.”
Djokovic is also a former champion and I think his defense and movement really blunts Del Poto’s power, regardless of surface. And the extra day off should help Novak. So even though Del Potro is playing in rhythm, which bodes well for 2013, edge to Djokovic here.
The pick: Djokovic in two
Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray
In the main event it’s a third meeting between Federer and Murray this year in London alone. They split the first two with Federer winning under a roof at Wimbledon then Murray, with the roof opened just minutes before play, gained revenge at the Olympics.
This time there’ll be no uncertainty, we know the they’ll play under a roof. And that’s advantage to Federer.
“He’s played great indoors the last few years, that’s for sure,” Murray said speaking of Federer. “I played him quite a few times indoors, had decent success against him early on. The last few times I played him, haven’t done so well indoors. But, yeah, his record speaks for itself.
“He’s played very well so far here. Yeah, he likes the conditions when they’re like this. It helps his timing. When he’s timing the ball well, he plays great tennis.”
And Federer’s beaten the Scot twice at this event in 2009 and 2010. But Murray, though, leads Roger 10-8, beat him in Shanghai comfortably and has won the last two.
So far this week Murray has looked pretty good in wins over Tomas Berdych and JW Tsonga, and he very nearly pulled out a victory against Djokovic. Meanwhile, Federer really didn’t have a good win, per se, because his group was so weak. So maybe he’s not as hardened. Maybe.
The numbers favor the Swiss who has taken this title six times and before today he had won 12 straight matches. Plus, Murray is the one with the pressure tomorrow.
But I think Murray has been the better player of late and with the confidence he’s gained the last half of the year I’ll take him here.
The pick: Murray in three
Of the two matches, Novak is only clear favorite while Federer-Murray really could go either way. Both should be great matches.
ESPN2 has coverage Sunday of both semifinals.
SUNDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT Start 12:00 pm
 Leander Paes (IND)/Radek Stepanek (CZE) v  Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/Rohan Bopanna (IND)
Not Before 2:15 PM
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) v  Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)
Not Before 6:00 PM
 Jonathan Marray (GBR)/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) v  Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Marc Lopez (ESP)
Not Before 7:45 PM
 Roger Federer (SUI) v  Andy Murray (GBR)
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