Federer downs del Potro in epic to reach World Tour Finals semis

Roger Federer rallied to beat Juan Martin del Potro at London's O2 Arena on Saturday.

Story highlights

  • Roger Federer sets up showdown with Rafa Nadal following victory over Argentine
  • Six-time winner of season-ending event recovers from a set down to win in three sets
  • Federer: "It's amazing I was able to pull it off because he got a great start in each of the sets"
  • Novak Djokovic maintains 100% record with three-set win over Richard Gasquet

Roger Federer is through to the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals after beating Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro at London's O2 Arena on Saturday.

The Swiss World No.7 came from a set down and 3-0 down in the deciding set of the Group B match to eventually win through 4-6 7-6 7-5 in two hours and 26 minutes.

Federer, a six-time winner of the event, will now face World No.1 Rafael Nadal on Sunday for a place in Monday's final.

Read more: 'Thanks Rafa'

"It's something to look forward to," Federer said. "I don't even have a day off so I've got to back it up tomorrow, but I'm ready and I'm looking forward to a great matchup with him."

Swiss fans were out in force at the O2, but must have feared the worst in all three sets as their man struggled at times to cope with the power of the fourth seed.

Boris Becker previews the ATP finals
Boris Becker previews the ATP finals


    Boris Becker previews the ATP finals


Boris Becker previews the ATP finals 01:51
Djokovic: Anti-doping system not working
Djokovic: Anti-doping system not working


    Djokovic: Anti-doping system not working


Djokovic: Anti-doping system not working 02:54
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur


    Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur


Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur 03:03

Read more: Federer demands more drug testing

Federer trailed del Potro 5-1 in the opening set before mounting a mini-comeback to trail 5-4. Two break points went begging in the 10th game, before del Potro reasserted his early authority and serve out the set.

Trailing again in the second set -- this time 3-1 -- Federer once more sprang back into life taking 12 points in a row before eventually levelling the match in a tiebreak (7-2).

With the pattern firmly established, Federer duly went 3-0 down in the third before leveling the set three games later. Del Potro's resolve, and serve were broken in the 11th game which set up Federer to serve out the match which ended with a resounding ace.

Read more: Djokovic slams doping procedures

"It's amazing I was able to pull it off because he got a great start in each of the sets. I could never really play free-flowing tennis like I would have liked to if I would have been in the lead," Federer said.

The 17-time grand slam champion was quick to pay tribute to a "tough" and, in recent weeks, very familiar opponent.

The pair met in the final of the Basel tournament in Switzerland at the end of October with del Potro winning in three sets. Last weekend, it was Federer's turn to triumph in the quarters at the Paris Masters.

"I thought Juan Martin's done really well the whole season and also again today. It was a pleasure playing against him and unfortunately one guy had to win."

In the remaining Group B match, Novak Djokovic beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-3 to maintain his 100% record while consigning the Frenchman to his third straight defeat.

The Serb will face Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday's other semifinal clash.


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