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.”