Federer sinks Söderling to clinch semi-final berth

Roger Federer sealed his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals after topping Swedish fourth seed Robin Söderling on Thursday.

Federer sinks Söderling to clinch semi-final berth

Federer will top Group B after producing his third dominant display at this year’s prestigious end-of-season event at London’s O2 Arena.

The world number two’s 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 victory over Söderling also means Andy Murray can book his spot in the final four by beating David Ferrer later on Thursday.

Söderling has no hope of qualifying due to the tournament’s complex rules involving the percentage of games won by each player.

Federer, bidding to win the title for the fifth time, said, “I’m happy I was able to come out and play a good, tough, solid match against a player who I thought was in good shape. I purposely didn’t want to know the calculations before the match.

“Last year, that played on my mind a little bit. I’m happy that all three matches were straight sets wins with no wasted energy. I’m playing real well. I’m through to the semis. So it’s all real good right now.”

Söderling was left to rue a crucial error that allowed Federer to take the first set.

“At first, I was pretty sure it was going out. But as soon as I let it go, I felt like this one is going much closer to the line than I expected. Of course, it went in. It was a little bit unlucky but it’s my fault,” he said.

The Tour Finals’ round-robin system forces every player to reach for the calculator to work out the various permutations that could see them through.

For Federer at least, the equation was relatively simple. He simply needed to win one set to be guaranteed top spot in the group, while

Söderling’s potential path to the last four was rather more headache-inducing.

After a disappointing season, which saw him lose the French Open and Wimbledon titles he won in 2009 as well as the number one ranking, Federer has been in rare form over the last few days in London.

His imperious display against Murray on Tuesday followed an equally

convincing straight sets win over Ferrer and a record of 14 wins from 15 previous meetings with Söderling suggested he would get what he needed to qualify.

It took the six-time Wimbledon champion just three games to secure the

first break as Söderling self-destructed with three successive unforced errors.

However, when Söderling finds his range with his booming groundstrokes, he can be an intimidating customer for even the very best.

Söderling’s baseline barrage kept Federer off balance in the eighth game and forced him into some uncharacteristic errors, which allowed the world number four to break back.

Söderling’s one success against Federer this year came in the French

Open quarter-finals and he was starting to rattle him in much

the same way he had on the clay at Roland Garros.

However, Federer is a different animal on hard courts and he regained his composure quickly enough to ensure the set went to a tie-break.

A sublime forehand from Federer secured two set-points in the breaker and he converted the second with a blocked backhand that Söderling opted to leave, only to turn and watch in horror as it clipped the line.

That misjudgment was enough to book Federer’s semi-final place, but

Söderling was still fighting for his tournament life and he missed a chance to get back in the match when he squandered two break points at the start of the second set.

Although Söderling fought off two break points in a marathon fourth game, Federer was playing with the drive of a man who needed the win far more than he actually did.

He kept coming at Söderling and secured the only break of the second set with a tremendous whipped forehand winner before serving out the match.

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Björn Borg’s son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut

Four decades after Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg won a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, his 16-year-old son Leo Borg is reportedly set to make his debut at the tournament.

Björn Borg's son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut
Leo Borg's Wimbledon debut is yet to be officially confirmed. Photo: Hanna Franzén/TT

According to reports in British tabloid The Sun and Swedish tabloid Expressen, Borg will be awarded a wildcard to play in the Wimbledon junior event.

“Leo is very grateful about getting a wildcard for the qualifiers to junior Wimbledon,” Björn Borg told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

“It will be an incredible experience and useful practice for the future,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Wimbledon tournament did not want to confirm the decision, only saying that wildcard announcements and the main draw for the Juniors tournament would be made next week.

If confirmed, Leo Borg’s Wimbledon debut comes 39 years after Björn Borg defeated American rival John McEnroe, winning him his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.

The iconic match has been called one of the greatest matches of all time and the story was adapted for the screen in the 2017 feature film Borg vs McEnroe, where Leo, bearing a striking resemblance to his fatther, played a younger version of Björn Borg.

During the 1970s and early 1980s Björn Borg won a total of 11 Grand Slam titles, five Wimbledons and six French Opens.

Björn Borg after winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in 1980. Photo: Scanpix/TT