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Roger Federer beats Alexander Zverev to advance to ATP Finals last four

Roger Federer has clinched a spot in the semifinals of the ATP Finals by beating Alexander Zverev. Despite the defeat, the young German also still has the opportunity to advance to the last four.

Roger Federer stayed on course for a seventh end-of-season crown, winning a battle of the generations by beating Alexander Zverev 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-1 at London's  O2 Arena on Tuesday.

"It was a good battle and I always enjoy myself at this beautiful arena," said Federer, who became the first to reach the final four at this year's tournament. He has now reached the semifinals 14 times.

"I have so much fun playing in London and I have been so successful here. Thank you for making it such a special night," he said.

The 36-year-old Swiss was also full of praise for his much younger opponent.

"I look forward to his future," Federer said. "He is a wonderful guy and a great player."

Coming into Tuesday's match, Federer and Zverev, 20, had faced each other four times and each had won twice. This year, Federer beat the younger of the Zverev brothers at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, but the German returned the favor at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Despite the defeat, Zverev still has a chance of joining Federer in the semifinals, provided that he is able to beat the American Jack Sock in his last group-stage match on Thursday.

Federer now goes on to face Marin Cilic of Croatia, whom Sock defeated on Tuesday  5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4).     

"I'm happy and relieved that I can play freely against Cilic, instead of it being a nail-biter. It's been a tough group so to be through in two matches is great," Federer said.

The No. 2-ranked Federer, who beat Sock in his first match, is the top star at the tournament after the withdrawal through injury of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

pfd/dv (AFP, dpa, SID)

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