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Roger Federer beats Jack Sock at ATP World Tour Finals – as it happened

The Guardian
Sunday 12 November 2017 21:05

Surprise qualifier Jack Sock made Roger Federer work for a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory, while world No1 Rafael Nadal confirmed he will take part in LondonRead the report from the O2 3.59pm GMT Time to wrap things up, but stay tuned for Kevin Mitchell’s match report in due course. Roger Federer is up and running, and Rafael Nadal will be competing. The World Tour Finals are hotting up nicely already. Thanks for joining me. Bye! Related: Roger Federer opens ATP World Tour Finals with simple win over Jack Sock 3.57pm GMT “It’s been a fantastic season, a very emotional one after what I’ve been going through with injuries. I never thought I’d be getting this trophy this time last year.
Rafa thanks his family, his team, and all the organisers of the tournaments he has played in. But will he play in this one, the crowd ask, with their eyes. 3.52pm GMT Next up on court, it’s Rafa Nadal! Not to play any actual tennis, but to collect the trophy for the world’s No1 men’s player. There have been rumours he could pull out before his opening game, so let’s see what he has to say. 3.49pm GMT Roger gets his chat on: “I got off to a great start, and was able to play a bit more freely after that. The second set was tight, I missed some chances, but he helped me out with some double faults. It’s great to be back here, I love playing here and can’t wait for my next match.” 3.47pm GMT That double fault was at the worst possible time, and Federer needs two points on serve. He gets the first with a lightning-quick cross-court winner – and Sock goes long on match point! He challenges, because why not, and then shakes hands. 3.45pm GMT Second set tie-break: *Federer 5-4 Sock
Sock changes it up at the right time, outfoxing Federer with a slower, kicking serve. And then, ah, a double fault. His sixth of the match. Jack, Jack, Jack. 3.44pm GMT Second set tie-break: Federer 4-3 Sock*
Federer has too much in his locker on the first point, sending Sock ever wider to win the rally. 4-2 at the changeover, and then Federer challenges a deep return off his second serve. It’s on the line, and Sock gets back on serve! 3.42pm GMT Second set tie-break: *Federer 3-2 Sock
An aggressive second serve and some pounding groundstrokes get Sock level, but a killer backhand return off a 126mph serve gives Federer the edge... 3.41pm GMT Second set tie-break: Federer 2-1 Sock*
Sock sends a winner just out of Federer’s reach to seal the first point, but narrowly misses the line to hand the next two points to Federer. 3.39pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 5-6 Sock (*denotes next server)
Federer will have to settle for a tie break after missing break point chances in the last three Sock service games. This is as routine as it gets, Federer holding to love. He’s dropped two points on serve in this set. 3.37pm GMT After the earlier chat about the next new slam winner, this stat suggests it may not be worth it:Sloane Stephens has lost six matches in a row since winning the US Open... https://t.co/zZw77dBqWe 3.36pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 5-6 Sock (*denotes next server)
Sock needs to hold with similar haste, with Federer waiting to pounce. He has time to put away a forehand, too much time, and pounds it into the net. Sock puts another chance wide, and Federer closes in at the net to put a clinical volley away. Break point – but on second serve, Sock hangs in there to take it to deuce. Federer has taken just one of six break points. After a peculiar rally of mishits, Sock makes a good challenge on a serve that’s called out, and puts away the winner. Played. 3.30pm GMT Second set: Federer 6-4, 5-5 Sock* (*denotes next server)
After keeping himself in the game, this would be a fine time for Jack Sock to make a breakthrough on the Federer serve. Easier said than done, obviously. Federer has his man skidding all over the court – he’s only lost four points off his first serve all match – and he holds to love in just over a minute. 3.27pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 4-5 Sock (*denotes next server)
The game is going with serve until a trick shot from Sock – returning a fearsome forehand with a between-the-legs volley – gets Federer’s interest, and he loops a passing shot into the corner! Sock can’t quite believe it, and two unforced errors present Federer with a break point, but he fires a half-chance at a winner wide. Sock nets to offer up another break point, but this time Federer finds the net. Sock batters his way to two game points, but Federer denies him. As the game ticks beyond eight minutes, Sock hauls out one more big serve to hold. 3.17pm GMT Second set: Federer 6-4, 4-4 Sock* (*denotes next server)
Federer’s fans wave their assorted Swiss flags and placards at the break. Their man has just missed a chance to put this game to bed, but doesn’t dwell on it, using every inch of the court to build a 40-0 lead and holding as Sock blasts a forehand long. 3.14pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 3-4 Sock (*denotes next server)
My apologies to the Sock camp – the American goes long, and then double-faults with an unlucky clip off the net. 0-30 down, he powers through the next point, but sees a big serve called just wide. Federer senses his moment, and a powerful return forces another error. Two break points, but Federer spurns a chance on second serve and Sock claws back to deuce. A Federer mishit, a pinpoint wide ace, and he holds! 3.09pm GMT Second set: Federer 6-4, 3-3 Sock* (*denotes next server)
A couple of big serves, a punchy volley and a disguised shot that has Sock swinging at fresh air. Another routine Federer hold, and this one feels like it’s heading for a tie-break already. 3.07pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 2-3 Sock (*denotes next server)
The service dominance continues, Sock raining down aces to go 40-0 up. A 139mph second serve is called as a let, and Federer goes long with his next return. 3.05pm GMT Second set: Federer 6-4, 2-2 Sock* (*denotes next server)
This court is playing a touch quicker than expected, encouraging Federer to get in behind his first serves. It works well here in another dominant service game. 3.01pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 1-2 Sock (*denotes next server)
A fourth double fault has Sock muttering to himself again, but a loose Federer return, a well-taken winner and a fifth, then sixth, ace get him out of trouble. 2.59pm GMT Second set: Federer 6-4, 1-1 Sock* (*denotes next server)
Can Sock make any in-roads on the Federer serve? He’s yet to create a break point chance, and can’t do so here, sending a backhand wide of the line as Federer holds. 2.57pm GMT Second set: *Federer 6-4, 0-1 Sock (*denotes next server)
Not a lot to choose between the two in that first set, but the killer stats were winners and unforced errors. Federer’s ratio was 14-7, Sock’s was 11-11. The American takes this game with a couple of lovely sliced winners. 2.52pm GMT It’s been a competitive opening set, and Federer will be keen to close it out. He allows Sock a chance at a passing shot, which the American takes. An unforced error gives Federer the edge, and two straight aces get the job done. 2.49pm GMT First set: *Federer 5-4 Sock (*denotes next server)
Fair play to Sock, who recovers from his prior drop shot embarrassments to outwit Federer at the net. A wide serve is called out, but over-ruled, and Sock closes out the game to love. Federer will serve for the set. 2.47pm GMT First set: Federer 5-3 Sock* (*denotes next server)
I’m not sure Roger was all that thrilled by Sock’s antics in the last game – no doubt he was only mucking about, expecting the point to be lost, but he put Federer off. The Swiss races through this service game, and is closing in on the first set. 2.45pm GMT First set: *Federer 4-3 Sock (*denotes next server)
After that iffy first game Sock has held his own, but is flummoxed by a Federer backhand on the first point. He’s still happy to mix it up, power and poise winning the next two, but a foolhardy dropshot attempt lets Federer back in. 30-all, ace, double fault, deuce – but a plunging forehand forces Federer wide. Then, the game’s strangest point – Sock serves up a dreadful drop shot and turns around, offering his posterior for Federer to aim at. Distracted, Federer instead hits only the net."Did something put you off, Roger?" #NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/R5NQDNCFRp 2.38pm GMT First set: Federer 4-2 Sock* (*denotes next server)
Federer kicks off with an ace, but a hefty return on second serve and a nicely judged shot down the line put Sock 30-15 ahead. Another ace and a long return get Federer to game point, but he goes long himself as Sock ratchets up the power on his forehand. Sock then races in on a drop shot, but goes cross-court when he could have played down the line. He senses a chance missed, and nets to surrender the game. 2.33pm GMT First set: *Federer 3-2 Sock (*denotes next server)
Sock races to 40-0 then suffers a curious wobble, double-double-faulting to put pressure on himself. A serve out wide is returned with interest, and it’s deuce. This looks like going only one way, but improved first serves get Sock off the hook. 2.29pm GMT First set: Federer 3-1 Sock* (*denotes next server)
Sock gets in position to go 0-30 up but punches a volley well wide. A mutter of “come on, man” follows as Federer moves ahead in the game, and the Swiss takes the game with a big second serve and precise forehand winner. 2.25pm GMT First set: *Federer 2-1 Sock (*denotes next server)
Strong start from Sock, aggressive off his first serve again to go 30-0 up, but caught on his heels by a return into the corner. Federer whips a forehand wide but Sock, not the silkiest mover, nets from outside the tramlines. Sock gets a welcome hold with a controlled forehand down the line. 2.21pm GMT First set: Federer 2-0 Sock* (*denotes next server)
Federer moves 40-15 up when a groundstroke clips the back of the baseline, throwing Sock’s rhythm off, but he nets and double-faults, and is hauled back to deuce. Sock has an angle to go for a cross-court winner but nets, and after the longest rally so far, the American goes long. 2.17pm GMT First set: *Federer 1-0 Sock (*denotes next server)
Sock looks to attack on the back of his first serve but is punished by Federer on the first two points. 0-30 already, but Sock rallies to win the next two. A lovely whipped forehand down the line from Federer brings up break point, and a tricky slice wraps it up. Rough start for Sock, there. 2.13pm GMT @niallmcveigh is he playing his left or right Sock?Come on, we’re better than that. Maybe. 2.09pm GMT Federer wins the toss, and puts Sock in to serve first. Classic mind games. We’ll be under way shortly. 2.06pm GMT Here come the players! First Jack Sock, then Federer who gets the customary ovation, make their way on court to a liquid DnB soundtrack. 2.01pm GMT “I think Thiem will win at Roland Garros next year, beating Nadal in the final” offers Tom Sweet, going big with his prediction. “His clay court game is superb and he has made two consecutive semi finals there.” 1.52pm GMT If you’ll indulge me, here’s a Joy of Six I wrote on Wimbledon wildcards back in the endless summer of 2017. Related: The Joy of Six: Wimbledon wildcards | Niall McVeigh 1.36pm GMT Andrew Benton gets in touch:@niallmcveigh I had the pleasure of seeing many ATP finalists at the China Open a month ago - inc Jack Sock vs Andrey Rublev. But what does ATP have to do to stop the dominance of the big four? It'll surely be Federer or Nadal who wins this year.... pic.twitter.com/cE8eYVvi9k 1.25pm GMT Saturday saw the culmination of the ATP’s Next Gen tournament, for the world’s best players aged 21 and under. South Korea’s Chung Hyeon won it, the world No54 beating Russia’s Andrey Rublev 3-4 (5), 4-3 (2), 4-2, 4-2 in the final. Related: Roger Federer not averse to subtle change as tennis considers its future 1.11pm GMT Federer (world No2) and Sock (world No9) are in the Group Boris Becker, it says here, along with Alexander Zverev (No3) and Marin Cilic (No5). In the other group, named after Pete Sampras, Rafa Nadal (No1) faces Dominic Thiem (No4), Grigor Dimitrov (No6) and David Goffin (No8). If Nadal drops out, he’ll be replaced by Pablo Carreño Busta (world No10) in perhaps the most mediocre group ever assembled at a Tour Finals. Stan Wawrinka, the current world No7, is injured and there are of course a couple of other absent famous names. 12.31pm GMT Hello. It’s the opening game of the tournament, and on one side of the net stands Roger Federer, the defending Australian Open and Wimbledon champion with 19 grand slams and six ATP Finals titles to his name.On the other is Jack Sock, who leapt into this tournament from a world ranking of No22 after winning the Paris Masters. That was the American’s first Masters title – Federer has won 27. Federer is odds-on to win this tournament before a shot has been played; Sock is 10-1 to win this match. 10.59am GMT Here’s Kevin Mitchell’s preview:Tennis has been drifting inexorably towards a crossroads for at least five years, and rarely has that been more clearly underlined than in events 700 miles apart this weekend. In Milan, the conclusion of the inaugural Next Gen tournament, packed with innovations such as the shot clock and shortened points, celebrated the arrival of the best of the young prospects in the game, while in London those left standing among the established elite dragged their tired bones to the white line for their final showdown of the season.There is a decent chance there will be a couple of memorable collisions in either of the two four-player groups at the O2 Arena, with the preferred climax a decider next Sunday between the world No1, Rafael Nadal, and his nemesis on this surface, the ageless Roger Federer. Certainly, there will be more actual court time in London than there has been in Milan – but is this what fans still want? Related: Roger Federer not averse to subtle change as tennis considers its future Continue reading...

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