Tennis Expert & Columnist
Roger Federer should never be discounted ahead of crunch ATP Finals clash, says Greg Rusedski
"Anderson right now to me is the slight favourite," adds Rusedski, as the two players prepare to meet in a repeat of their memorable Wimbledon quarter-final
Last Updated: 07/12/18 11:09am
"Don’t discount Federer," is the message from Greg Rusedski despite sighting Kevin Anderson as a marginal favourite going into the meeting between the two, live on Sky Sports in the final round-robin match at the ATP Finals on Thursday evening.
Federer's 6-2 6-3 victory over Thiem on Tuesday night kept his chances of a place in the last four alive after a stuttering start to the competition following a shock straight-sets loss to Kei Nishikori.
Against Thiem, though, the six-time tournament champion looked much more like himself as he took control early on and cut down on the unforced errors that had plagued him in that opening match.
Group Lleyton Hewitt remains wide open going into Thursday's clashes, Nishikori will meet Thiem earlier in the day before Anderson and Federer take to the court in what will be an electric atmosphere.
"Well I think that Nishikori will beat Thiem so he'll go two and one so Federer, if he has to qualify, he has got to beat Anderson," said Rusedski. "But Anderson right now to me is the slight favourite because he's looking confident.
"The question is, will the crowd affect him because the crowd are going to be with Federer, they're going to want him to come through. But Anderson has shown a lot of mental steel there, so there's a lot to play for but don't discount Federer."
Rusedski on the Federer vs Anderson match-up
"If I had to call it right now I'd give it to Anderson at the moment."
The South African is going into the encounter off a 6-0 6-1 demolition of Nishikori - he took just 63 minutes to finish the job and put it as his standout performance in his wonderful season which saw him win ATP events in New York and Vienna as well as reach the second Grand Slam final of his career at the All England Club this summer.
"It's one of the best matches I've ever played," noted the tournament debutant on court after.
"I knew I had to come out and play well against Kei, who is a world-class player. You just take each game at a time and I found great rhythm right from the start but then I was able to keep the pressure on him right throughout the match. You wait a whole year to play a match like this and to do it here feels fantastic."
Another fantastic feeling that Anderson also enjoyed in London was crossing the line in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon against Federer.
The epic marathon lasted four hours and 13 minutes and finished 2-6 6-7 (7-5) 7-5 6-4 13-11 in the 32-year-old's favour.
Federer's missed chances...
At Wimbledon, Federer dropped a two-set lead against Anderson and failed to take a match point in the third set.
It's a match that Annabel Croft believes will drive Federer's determination leading into the match.
"It's a good call Greg [Anderson to win] because we're all so impressed with Anderson and I think that some of the tennis we've seen from him, he said himself, almost the best match he's ever played [against Nishikori]," commented Croft.
"It's quite difficult to come out and repeat a performance like that and also there's a real certain hunger and something to prove for Roger Federer after that very, very painful defeat.
"He's mentioned it so many times since that loss at Wimbledon having had match points against him out on Court 1, he would like to set the record straight.
"And, I think this [straight sets against Thiem] is just the kind of match that he needed to springboard into another meeting with Kevin Anderson.
"But, he'll have to play well because Anderson has got a lot of weapons that are working out here on this court."
We have every major tennis event covered from all angles via our website skysports.com/tennis. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation