World number 2 and six-time ATP Finals champion, Roger Federer, just made his amazing season even better, defeating Marin Cilic by 6-7 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 54 minutes to improve his score in 2017 to 52-4. Roger will leave Group Boris Becker with all 3 wins, and this is the 10th time he stayed undefeated in the round robin stage in his 15 appearances at the ATP Finals, advancing to the semi-final for the 14th time! This was their 9th meeting and the first since July and Wimbledon final, with Federer scoring his 8th win over the Croat, losing only that US Open semi-final in 2014.
Roger fired 17 aces and he faced just 1 break point, saving it to keep his serve intact throughout the match, and he broke Marin's serve 3 times from 9 opportunities to bring the match home safely after losing the opening set.
Federer served at 69% and that was more than enough to stay away from troubles in his games, keeping the pressure on Marin, who had to work hard from the very first game of the match. On the other hand, Croat landed in only 51% of the first serve and despite 12 aces, he didn't have the comfort behind his initial shot like Roger did, especially in the third set.
After a great display in the final set, Federer finished the match with 33 winners and 30 unforced errors while Marin stood on a negative 36-43 ratio, which wasn't bad either considering how many winners he had. Almost nothing could separate them in the mid-range points but Federer took charge in the shortest points up to 4 stroke, one of the crucial elements in modern tennis, upending Marin by 71-55 to earn his win.
Marin was forced to fight for every point in the opening game of the match, saving 3 break points to avoid an early setback. He closed the game with 2 winners to get his name on the scoreboard, and both players settled into a nice rhythm in the following games.
Cilic had to save another break point in game 9, this time with a volley winner at the net, and that was enough to set up a tie break. Roger sailed through his service games but he made a costly double fault in the third point to fall 4-1 behind, coming back to level the score at 5-5 and keep his chances of winning the tie break alive.
The pivotal moment of the set occurred in the 11th point when Marin clinched another mini-break with a beautiful volley winner and he closed the set with a forehand winner after 53 minutes of play, taking the breaker by 7-5.
After a break point for each at the start of the second set, we saw 6 easy holds and Marin served to stay in the set at 4-5. Roger found deep returns just when he needed them ad he broke at 15 to grab the set by 6-4 and force a decider.
It has to be said that Cilic served at only 46% and that he played a solid set, just spoiling everything in that last game that cost him the set. The final set was a one-way traffic, Roger lost just 3 points in his games and Marin was already thinking about well-deserved vacation, struggling to find his first serve and dropping more than 50% of the points in his games to get broken twice.
A forehand down the line winner from the return gave Swiss maestro a 2-0 advantage, materializing the break with a hold at love in game 3, blasting 3 service winners to continue his march towards the finish line. Cilic held after 2 deuces in game 4 but he lost serve next time around when his forehand found the net, trailing 5-1 and leaving Roger to serve for the triumph.
Federer earned 3 match points with a backhand down the line winner and he converted the first to reach the semis in style. Round robin result: