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Federer moves into semifinals unbeaten for 10th time

Despite being already qualified for the final weekend at the ATP Finals, the Swiss showed no letting up in a three-set win over Marin Cilic
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Federer moves into semifinals unbeaten for 10th time
Naomi BakerGetty Images

Roger Federer recovered from a set down against Marin Cilic at the ATP Finals on Thursday, moving undefeated into the semifinals for the 10th time in his career.

Six-times champion Federer had booked his place in the semi-finals with victory over German trailblazer Alexander Zverev but any notion that he would coast through his final group match proved wide of the mark as he returned to haunt Cilic with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 win at the O2 Arena.

Cilic, eliminated after two three-set losses, was hoping to end his year on a high in the city where his Wimbledon dream was ended in this year's final by Federer - the Croatian sobbing on court after suffering blisters.

The world number five survived four break points in the opening set and played an impressive tiebreak.

A stunning angled backhand volley at 5-5 gave him a set point and he crunched away a forehand winner, his 20th of a first set in which Federer's frustration was clear.

Federer could have been excused for stepping off the gas but the 19-times grand slam champion went up a gear.

The second set was on serve until, at 4-5, Cilic netted a forehand to give Federer a set point which the Swiss converted.

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Clive BrunskillGetty Images

Federer: "One last push and then vacation"

A 100mph forehand service return gave Federer an early break in the decider and Cilic's resistance crumbled quickly as Federer turned on the style to race to victory.

Federer has reached the last four in 14 out of 15 appearances in the year-end tournament and will face David Goffin or Dominic Thiem for a place in the final.

Cilic's career record is now 1-8 at the ATP Finals.

"I was a set and a break down so happy I found a way out of it," the 36-year-old world number two said.

"I thought try to relax a little bit. This was nice because I could play a bit more freely midway through the second set because I was through regardless.

"But I wanted to keep the momentum going. One last weekend now, one last push, then vacation."


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