Federer routs Nadal to reach ATP semis

BY foxsports • November 22, 2011

No tears, no drama, no contest. The 26th episode of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's compelling rivalry turned out to be one of their most one-sided.

Federer took 61 minutes to win 6-3, 6-0 and qualify for the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday in his most comprehensive victory over the Spaniard.

Pinned behind the baseline, Nadal found Federer's forehand unplayable. From 2-2 in the first set, Federer won 10 of the next 11 games. He finished with 28 winners to Nadal's four.

''It was a great match for me basically from start to finish,'' said Federer, who broke down in tears after losing to Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final but had no issues Tuesday at the O2 Arena. ''I was able to do what I was hoping to do: dominate from the baseline, play close to the baseline, serve well, take his time away.''

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier kept alive his hopes of reaching the last four by beating Mardy Fish of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-1. Federer's win means Fish cannot advance.

The winner of Thursday's match between Tsonga and Nadal will claim the other semifinal place from Group B.

''It's not the moment to say goodbye,'' Nadal said. ''It's the moment to keep fighting. I'm still in the tournament.''

Nadal still leads the head-to-head series against Federer 17-9, but Tuesday's win extended the Swiss player's dominance indoors, where he has won all four of their matches.

Nadal, who had an upset stomach during his three-set win over Fish on Sunday, said he had been unable to practice on Monday because of a shoulder problem that he thought might end his tournament but he said he was in ''perfect'' condition against Federer.

''Today he played too good for me, and that's what happened,'' Nadal said. ''Just accept that.''

There hadn't been a 6-0 set between the two former No. 1s since Nadal routed Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 to win the French Open final in 2008 for his 12th win on clay in the series.

''Sometimes it just derails for you, like it derailed for Rafa today and it did for me at the French Open,'' Federer said. ''Everything you try doesn't work for the guy who is down; for the one who is up, he's taking more and more chances, all of that is working.

''Next thing you know, you're facing a debacle.''

The 30-year-old Federer, who is targeting a record sixth title at the season-ending event and a 70th overall, extended his winning streak to 14 matches following titles in Basel and Paris. He will play Fish in his final group match on Thursday.

Fish has been struggling with a left hamstring injury that has disrupted the end of his season, although he had his chances against Nadal in his first match and against an inconsistent Tsonga.

The sixth-seeded Frenchman was twice up a break in the first set before finally taking it in a tiebreaker. Tsonga was broken at love to start the second set but then reeled off six straight games.

''It's really good to win for the first time here,'' said Tsonga, whose only previous appearance in the end-of-season tournament was in Shanghai three years ago.

Fish ranted at the umpire during one changeover - although he later said it was a ''friendly exchange'' - and hit his troublesome left leg with his racket several times.

The pain didn't stop him from attempting a between-the-legs shot in the tiebreaker. He also ran full speed across the court to reach a short ball toward the end of the second set before vaulting the courtside bench.

''You work so hard to get here for 10 months, 10 1/2 months,'' Fish said. ''I get all the way here and I couldn't do the things that I wanted to do.''

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