• ATP World Tour Finals

Federer edges Wawrinka epic to set up Djokovic final

Nick Atkin at the O2 Arena
November 15, 2014
Roger Federer saw off compatriot Stan Wawrinka in three sets over two hours and 48 minutes © Getty Images

Roger Federer admits he "got lucky" saving four match points before securing a dramatic 4-6 7-5 7-6(6) win against Stan Wawrinka to book a showdown with Novak Djokovic for the World Tour Finals title.

The world No.2 came from a set down to win in two hours and 48 minutes against the man he will line up alongside for Switzerland in next weekend's Davis Cup final.

However, Federer had been on the brink of defeat with Wawrinka a point from victory three times at 5-4 in the third, and also escaped when he trailed his compatriot 6-5 in the ensuing tie-breaker.

Federer will line up alongside Wawrinka for Switzerland in next weekend's Davis Cup final © Getty Images

"I really didn't think I was going to turn it around anymore because Stan looked very good for a long time, was able to win the second set somehow by hanging around," Federer said in his press conference.

"I clearly got lucky tonight. There's no doubt about that. But you've got to keep believing that maybe there is a slight chance that you are going to be able to turn it around somehow. It happened today."

It was by far the longest match at the tournament and just the fourth to go to three sets at the O2 Arena this year.

Federer, who was still speaking to media at 1am, will have had significantly less time to recover for Sunday's final than Djokovic after the world No.1 saw off Kei Nishikori in Saturday's afternoon semi-final.

"I'm going to try to get back as quick as possible, try to recover, stretching, massage, sleep, eat," Federer added. "Do all those things fast. The problem is it's a bit of a drive home. So it takes a while. It's not like it's five minutes away like in other places. Going to lose some time there.

"But the match is 6pm tomorrow, which is good it's not earlier than that, so at least it gives me the chance to sleep in in the morning."

Federer, featuring in a record-equalling 12th semi-final at the event, had saved all seven break points he had faced this week, however, Wawrinka managed to break him not once but twice for a 5-2 lead in the first.

The world No.2 pulled one break back, but Wawrinka held serve to close out the set in 35 minutes.

Wawrinka then managed to save three break points to keep the second set on serve at 3-3, though, serving to stay in it as he trailed 6-5, he dumped a simple overhead into the net to gift Federer three set points. Federer duly took his first with Wawrinka planting a backhand into the net.

Federer, bidding for a ninth final at the event, was immediately broken to love at the start of the decider, though, having remonstrated with the umpire at 0-40 after claiming he didn't hear an overrule so challenged too late.

The verdict

  • Roger Federer may have got the victory, but the real winners of that match were Novak Djokovic and the French Davis Cup team.
  • Djokovic was already set to have more time to recover having played the earlier semi-final, but will have raised a smile after seeing Federer spend nearly three hours on court.
  • With Wawrinka also pushed to the limit, Switzerland's Davis Cup team will be hoping their top two players aren't completely exhausted for next weekend's final against France.
  • What a show by Federer and Wawrinka, though. The World Tour Finals have finally come to life - sadly it took until the penultimate day to happen.

Wawrinka then denied Federer by saving two break points and going 5-3 up to close in on victory. A dramatic next game saw Federer save three match points before taking his second break point to stay in the match, with the O2 Arena erupting.

The drama didn't end there. Federer was then forced to save two break points before going 6-5 ahead, with Wawrinka holding to ensure a tie-breaker.

Federer raced into a 2-0 lead before Wawrinka battled back to lead 6-5. However, Federer saved match point again before bringing up his first, taking the tie-breaker 8-6 to secure the win.

The two embraced at the net following the match and, asked at his press conference what Federer said to him, Wawrinka replied with a smile: "I'm not sure he's sorry for me."

He added: "Not much. When you win a match like that, when I had so many opportunity, normally you cannot say so many thing. I just told him, 'congratulations, good luck tomorrow'. Classic. Nothing special. Sorry."

Wawrinka also admitted his nerves got the best of him as he tried to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third.

"For sure that game at the end I was nervous," he said. "Match like that, you make some choice, especially when you're tired, when you're nervous. Just wanted to go for it and not wait for mistake or whatever, because you know that could give you the match.

"I had some big opportunity in the third set. I should have take it, especially serving for the match with two match point. Maybe didn't serve well enough."

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