ATP Finals: Thiem keeps hopes alive with Nishikori win

Roger Federer plays a backhand during his singles round robin match against Dominic Thiem during Day Three of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena on November 13, 2018, in London.

"I'm very happy", Federer said in his on-court interview afterwards.

"I wanted to do it for myself and for all the spectators to show my real self today basically and it was way better".

Having succumbed to a shocking straight-sets defeat to Japanese star Kei Nishikori in the Finals opener, Federer responded in similar fashion against Dominic Thiem, beating the Austrian 6-2 and 6-3 on Wednesday.

"If I would have known that previous year, this would have been the season [I would have], I would have taken it", Federer said, as quoted on Tennis World USA.

Klaasen and Venus' opponents are coached by South Africa's Jeff Coetzee, the first non-white South African to win tour titles. "I don't know. But, yeah, I just didn't play well this week".

Another break followed in the seventh game as Thiem netted a tame volley as Federer won the first set easily.

"I had three breaks of serve of John which is sometimes mission impossible, but I managed to be at the right place at the right time".

"I am happy it all worked out in the end".

Federer, who has only failed to reach the semi-finals in the event once in 15 appearances, will still need to beat group leader Kevin Anderson in straight sets on Thursday to be absolutely sure of making it to the weekend.

Asked about the controversy, former world No 1 Federer said that while he does speak to tournament chiefs about scheduling, he doesn't believe he gets special favours.

This might not quite constitute revenge, but if Federer goes on to beat Anderson in the final and win his 100th career singles title in the process, the pain of squandering a match point before losing 13-11 in the fifth at SW19 might be eased a little.

"In a ideal world, Federer plays a match or two on an outside court so those other than the fat cats can watch him", he wrote, adding later, "To me, the lede was buried here".

Nishikori won just 56 percent of points on his serve throughout the match and hit a total of 41 unforced errors, compared with 21 for Thiem. Federer held steady until 3-3 in the first set when Anderson played an unusually poor service game, allowing him to break to the delight of another huge midweek crowd by the Thames.

"Sometimes they tell me, you know, "Asia wants you to play at night".

The Swiss great was starting at an early exit after his opening-round loss to Kei Nishikori but he heads into the last-four round as the topper of the Lleyton Hewitt group following a remarkable comeback. "I'm thrilled. Thanks for the support, of course, and I'm excited to be in the semis".

  • Stacy Allen