(CNN) -- World No. 2 Roger Federer cruised into the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday with his third successive win in London this week.
The Swiss star defeated Robin Soderling of Sweden 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach the last four of the men's season-ending event for the eight time in nine appearances.
He became the first player of the eight-man field to make it through, with his victory meaning that Andy Murray needed to win only one set against Spain's David Ferrer in the late match to go through.
The British player subsequently triumphed 6-2 6-2 to qualify for the first time.
Federer's win also ended the hopes of fourth seed Soderling, a semifinalist last year who suffered his second straight-sets defeat in Group B after beating Ferrer on Tuesday.
"I'm happy I was able to come out today and play a good, tough, solid match against a player who I thought was in good shape," Federer told the ATP Tour website.
"I purposely didn't want to know the calculations before today's match, whereas I was in the loop very clearly what I kind of needed to do last year, which I think played on my mind a little bit.
"I just wanted to come out and try to play as good a match as I can. Losing is never a solution to trying to win a tournament. That's why I'm happy that all three matches were straight sets, and I did not waste any energy."
Federer, who has won the tournament four times, fired three aces in the tie-break.
He then had a lucky escape on his serve at the start of the second set when a line call on Soderling's forehand was overruled following a replay.
Soderling, who this year lost in the French Open final for the second time, ended his season with a 57-22 winning record.
"I'm working a lot on my movement around the court. I think I need to improve everything. That's what you need to do if you want to be on top of the game," he said.
Murray bounced back from his defeat by Federer on Tuesday to enter the draw for Saturday's semis, where he said he would like to play world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
"I knew David needed to win comfortably, so it was quite a strange position to be in," he told the crowd. "David started well but I returned well to get myself back into it.
"They've put on an unbelievable tournament here and it's been almost packed every match."
On Friday, Nadal will seek to clinch a semifinal spot by beating Tomas Berdych in a rematch of July's Wimbledon final, which the Spaniard won.
Third seed Novak Djokovic will aim to qualify by beating Andy Roddick in the final Group A match.