Wawrinka battles back from poor start to beat Ferrer

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Great response: Wawrinka.

Stan Wawrinka showed his fighting spirit to set up a winner-takes-all clash with Andy Murray for a place in the semi-finals at the ATP World Tour Finals.

– FEDERER: Veteran Swiss breaks Djokovic run in London
– NADAL: Spaniard in fine form to beat Murray
– Abu Dhabi: Sports Council interested in hosting ATP event
– Pat Cash: I’d help Rafael Nadal return to tennis’ top table

Wawrinka was heavily criticised for his performance against Rafael Nadal on Monday but he recovered from 5-2 down in the opening set against David Ferrer to win 7-5 6-2.

That result means Nadal has won the group following his 6-4 6-1 victory over Murray earlier, and the winner of the clash between the Scot and Wawrinka on Friday will qualify for the last four in second place.

Wawrinka said: “It was a tough battle. It’s always difficult to play David and I’m really happy. I didn’t start well but I started to find my game.

“Andy is an amazing player. He’s number two this year, he’s had an amazing year. He’s always tough to play, especially at home. I’ll look forward to that match.”

It looked like being another bad day for Wawrinka when Ferrer broke serve to lead 3-1, and the Spaniard then withstood pressure from his opponent to save break points and make it 5-2.

But Ferrer’s Achilles heel this season has been his serve and, once he double-faulted on set point in the ninth game, it all unravelled.

The seventh seed netted a forehand to give up the break, and then another double fault handed Wawrinka a second successive break, which he converted into the set.

As with so many matches at the tournament over the past couple of years, once the first set had been decided, the second was a virtual non-event.

Wawrinka broke serve for a third straight time in the opening game and quickly pulled away.

His first two match points went begging, the second when he sent a straightforward-looking smash to the far reaches of the O2 Arena, but he clinched it on the third.

Even then there was a stroke of luck. Ferrer thought Wawrinka’s shot was out – a suspicion HawkEye proved – but the Spaniard was out of challenges and had to concede defeat after an hour and 33 minutes.

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VIDEO: 'I played a great match against Novak' - Roger Federer

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Swiss maestro Roger Federer admitted he played a “great match” after bringing to an end World No.1 Novak Djokovic’s three-year unbeaten record indoors during a fine straight sets victory at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

– NADAL: Spaniard cruises past Murray
– FEDERER: Veteran Swiss breaks Djokovic run in London
– FED Cup: Sharapova ‘proud’ despite defeat
– Abu Dhabi: Sports Council interested in hosting ATP event
– Pat Cash: I’d help Rafael Nadal return to tennis’ top table










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Resurgent Nadal brushes Murray aside in London

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Rafael Nadal has never won the season-ending event in his illustrious career.

A mid-match haircut failed to help Andy Murray as he was well beaten by a resurgent Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals.
Bizarrely, after three games of the match Murray sat down on his bench, took a pair of scissors out of his bag and cut his fringe.

He withstood Nadal pressure until the 10th game of the first set but a run of five games in a row for the Spaniard put him on the way to a 6-4 6-1 victory.

– FEDERER: Veteran Swiss breaks Djokovic run in London
– FED Cup: Sharapova ‘proud’ despite defeat
– Abu Dhabi: Sports Council interested in hosting ATP event
– Pat Cash: I’d help Rafael Nadal return to tennis’ top table

The result means Murray is likely to need to win his final group match against Stan Wawrinka at the O2 Arena on Friday to progress to the semi-finals, while he still requires one more victory to guarantee that he will finish the year ranked number two.

Murray and Nadal had only met once before this season, in the final of the clay-court Madrid Masters, when Murray stunned his rival by dominating the match to take one of the most impressive titles of his career.

The Scot cuts his hair during a changeover at the O2.

Nadal was mired in one of the most difficult periods of his career as his previous dominance on the surface ebbed away.

On paper, things have not improved that much but, although he will end the season without a grand slam title for the first time in a decade, Nadal is feeling very differently about his game these days.

It was difficult to tell quite how well he had played against a seriously out-of-sorts Stan Wawrinka on Monday, and he began shakily here, dropping his serve in the opening game.

But he hit straight back and the penetration and placement on his shots soon had Murray on the back foot.

The Scot saved three break points in the sixth game and then two more in the eighth, but his resistance faltered in the 10th as Nadal broke to love to take the opening set.

Murray was ranting and raving, and things were not about to get any better.

Neither man was serving well but it was Murray who was paying the price, and successive double faults helped Nadal to a second straight break at the start of the second set.

Murray was being watched by Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, back from a trip to South America with James Ward and Kyle Edmund, and he will hope his star man is in much better form next weekend.

Nadal broke again to lead 5-1 and then clinched victory on his first match point with a forehand winner that left Murray stumbling behind the baseline.

The statistics did not make pretty reading for the Scot, who made 29 unforced errors and won just 10 per cent of points on his second serve in the second set.

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