Federer looking like his old self at ATP finals
With his forehand flying all over the court and his backhand bringing in point after point, Roger Federer is looking a lot like the player who racked up major title after major title a few years ago.
The second-ranked Swiss was nearly perfect for the fourth straight match at the ATP World Tour Finals, easily beating Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday to set up a final against Rafael Nadal.
''I was able to outplay him at times, play aggressive,'' said Federer, who has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles. ''I took it to him, exactly the way I was hoping to make it.''
Federer's play appeared effortless, just as it did in the mid-2000s when he won more than a dozen major titles. His forehand was spraying to all corners of the court, his backhand was shooting across the net with pace, and his drop shots were landing out of his opponent's reach.
''He's really stepping in, hitting the backhands and forehands all over the court, winners. Every ball kind of listens to him,'' Djokovic said. ''It's very hard. He doesn't give you a lot of free points.''
Federer has won in straight sets in all four of his matches at the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world. He first beat David Ferrer in the round-robin stage, then made Andy Murray look ordinary before defeating Robin Soderling.
Djokovic, who is 6-13 against Federer but beat him in this year's U.S. Open semifinals, was just another in that line.
''It's been a great tournament so far, clearly, having not lost a set and beaten so many good players, close rivals,'' Federer said. ''Today was another great match.''
Up next, however, is Nadal, who has won the last three Grand Slam titles but needed three sets and more than three hours to beat Andy Murray in the other semifinal.
''Obviously I'm really looking forward to playing against Rafa tomorrow. Who wouldn't?'' said Federer, who has beaten Nadal twice in the semifinals of the tour finals. ''What he's achieved is amazing. ... He's proven himself that he can play on any surface now.''