|Posted on November 15, 2015 at 8:00 PM|
Tomas Berdych will open his campaign against Roger Federer on Sunday night. The Swiss leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 14-6 and comfortably won their two matches in 2015 in the Rome and Indian Wells quarter-finals. Berdych last beat the 34 year old in Dubai in 2013.
For either Berdych or Nishikori to favour their chances of progressing to the semi-finals, they will likely have to bank on at least claiming the honours when they square off in the group stage. Nishikori has won three of their four matches, although the pair hasn’t met since Tokyo in 2012.
Federer Finds His Range
ATP NEWS | 15 November 2015
As one of the first players to touch down in London for his 14th straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals appearance, Roger Federer gave himself the optimum chance to prepare for his opening showdown with Tomas Berdych on Sunday. But as even the 34-year-old Swiss great found, there is no substitute for match conditions. Despite the 6-4, 6-2 scoreline in his favour, it was far from a routine victory.
“Was one of the worst starts I've had in years. No first serves, two double-faults, nothing coming from the baseline. So it was rough,” Federer said. “But thankfully I was able to pick it up … It’s hard to blast through an opponent here in London, which I think helps for me now against Berdych in this case because I can make the match athletic.
“I was a bit sluggish coming in. I don't want to say too overconfident, but I thought it was going to be easier than that. It was a good lesson for me to learn.”
Following a record seventh title on home soil in Basel, the World No. 3 fell in the second round at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. It afforded him some unexpected family time. “That was really nice to spend some quality time with my kids, my wife, walking around, just relaxing before I went to Helsinki, which was different than previous years, which I haven’t done,” he said.
“Because of the three days off I had after Paris, I think I’m really fresh. Even though I’m looking forward to my vacation, I can tell you that, I feel very happy to be here and very happy about my state of mind and body as well.”
In arguably his toughest group-stage match on paper, the only player to defeat him in finals this year, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, is his next opponent. While the gap in Emirates ATP Rankings points is substantial, Federer does not see as great a disparity in the pair’s level of play. He hinted this was not the Djokovic showdown he had his heart set on. A second crack at the three-time defending champion in the final would be the ultimate way to close out his season.
“Two days is not the match that I care the most about, to be quite honest. It's an important match, very important. But it's not the match,” Federer said. “This doesn't feel now so crazy early because we've had the week of preparation, we've both had a match now. I think we both feel like we're in the tournament.
“But nevertheless, it is only sort of a second round. Maybe still some open questions in both our games, or in mine, getting rid of what happened in the beginning of the match (today). It's going to be important not to have that against Novak clearly in a couple of days.”
Tomas Berdych in action in his men's singles match against Roger Federer during day one of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 15, 2015 in London, England. Federer won 6-4, 6-2.