Resilient Ferrer edges Del Potro
Federer routs Tipsarevic to notch record 40 wins in year-ending meet
Swiss maestro Federer glided to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over outclassed Serbian Janko Tipsarevic to open his Group B account, taking his haul of victories at the elite year-ending event to 40 having qualified for an 11th consecutive year.
Another silky display from the 17-time Grand Slam champion took him past the record he shared with Ivan Lendl, the level of his play suggesting the 31-year-old world number is still the man to beat at the tournament he has won a record six times.
Ferrer does not glide, rather hustles and bustles his way around the court, driving opponents to distraction with rock-like defences, punchy groundstrokes and speedy footwork. Del Potro will testify to that after the towering Argentine lost a fascinating duel 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in front of a packed audience at the 17,000 O2 Arena alongside the River Thames.
Fourth seed Ferrer will face Federer on Thursday trying to gain a first victory at the 14th attempt. Federer seized the initiative when he broke Tipsarevic's first service game and never looked back. "I was striking the ball well today," world number two Federer told reporters.
One break was enough for Federer in the opening set and after he pounced again to break for a 2-1 lead in the second he galloped away to victory, the 876th of his career to move into third place of all time ahead of John McEnroe.
Ferrer fought off a break point against the towering Del Potro, runner-up here in 2009, before moving 3-1 ahead when the former US Open champion missed a backhand volley.
That proved enough for the Spaniard to take the opening set and he was still the dominant force at the start of the second set when he carved out four break points at 1-1, only for Del Potro to dig himself out of a gruelling service game.
The escape seemed to galvanise Del Potro who began clattering some heavy groundstrokes to gain a decisive break in the second set and set up a decider.
Ferrer stormed into a 4-1 lead only for Del Potro to drag himself right back into contention at 4-4. Ferrer, who arrived on a 10-match winning streak after indoor titles in Valencia and Paris, refused to panic, however, and he rattled off the last eight points of the match to seal victory in two hours 16 minutes.
"I am very, very, very happy. It was a top match, and it was very difficult to play against Juan Martin," Ferrer said. "I don't know the secret of my good form. It has been the best season of my career."
Indian pairs win
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna won their first Group B match with a 6-3, 5-7, 10-5 win over Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau to keep their semifinal hopes alive while Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek also made a winning start.
It was a good comeback for fifth seeds Bhupathi and Bopanna after losing the first match to Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielse.
In a Group A match, third seeds Paes and Stepanek began their campaign with a 6-4, 7-5 win over seventh seeded pair of Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Ro-ger on Tuesday.
London gets extension
London will host the ATP World Tour Finals through to 2015 after the men's tennis governing body announced a two-year contract extension on Wednesday. The iconic O2 Arena has staged the season-ending showpiece since 2009 and the original five-year deal was due to run out in 2013.