ATP World Tour Finals, Semi-Final Preview #2: Roger Federer v Stan Wawrinka

Federer

The second of the semi-finals on Saturday will feature the winner of group B, Roger Federer up against the runner-up of group A, Stan Wawrinka.  This is a high profile semi-final, but this hasn’t been an encouraging tag at the O2 this year with most of the anticipated matches offering quick and one-sided contests.  Wawrinka needed just three games to confirm his place in the semi-finals and he did that within 15 minutes in Friday’s final round robin match against Marin Cilic.  Wawrinka lost the second set, but recovered well in the decider, coming from a break down to win six of the last seven games.

Federer advanced into the semi-finals with three wins out of three; most notably he annihilated Andy Murray in his final group game, 6-0 6-1 in front of a dejected crowd.  The O2 fans have had a rough deal this week; the tickets in the lower bowl for the round robin matches are priced as high as £70 and that figure goes up for the semi-finals.  Federer produced a majestic display, teeing off on Murray’s second serve and covering every inch of the court as he dominated the match from start to finish.  Murray though, was very disappointing; even after a woeful first set, he showed no signs of changing his tactics.  He had nothing to play for in the second set and I would have liked to see him go for his shots more and at least, take a few risks.  He looked utterly lost and surprisingly emotionless, as Federer wrapped up the bagel-breadstick victory in just 56 minutes.

Federer and Wawrinka have split their two meetings in 2014; Wawrinka won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo, coming from a set down to beat Federer, 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2.  That match, which was heavily hyped after Stan had overtaken Roger as the Swiss world number one, feels so long ago.  Their most recent match took place in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.  Wawrinka seemed to be struggling with a stomach complaint, but still put in a fair effort, going down in four entertaining sets, 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4.  I didn’t expect Wawrinka to make it past the group stage after a dire run of form through the last couple of months so this has been a good week for him.  With the greatest of respect to Nishikori and Wawrinka, i’m holding out for a Federer-Djokovic final…

Prediction: Federer d. Wawrinka in 2 sets

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