ATP Finals defeat frustrates Federer

Story highlights

  • Juan Martin del Potro beats Roger Federer to claim semifinal place in ATP World Tour Finals
  • Argentine's three-set victory ends the hopes of Spain's world No. 5 David Ferrer
  • Ferrer finishes on a high note as he beats Janko Tipsarevic in final round-robin match
  • Federer will face Andy Murray in Sunday's semifinals, while Del Potro plays Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer has vowed to bounce back from his second successive defeat against a man who has gained a recent edge over the 17-time grand slam champion.

Juan Martin del Potro made his name by beating Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open final, and won again at that year's ATP World Tour Finals, but lost seven in a row before toppling the then world No. 1 in the final of his home event in Basel last month.

The Argentine, who towers over most opponents at six foot six inches tall, followed that up on Saturday with a 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3 victory to qualify for the semifinals of the season-ending showpiece in London.

"It's disappointing," said defending champion Federer, who was already assured of a place in Sunday's semifinals after beating David Ferrer on Thursday.

"I had a good feeling going into the match, definitely the right game plan. It's indoor tennis, he has a big serve and all those things. But still I expect myself to get more returns into play.

"But it's important to move on right now. Mentally, it's important to look ahead and rest because it's a quick turnaround.

    Just Watched

    World's best tennis players face off

World's best tennis players face off 03:36
PLAY VIDEO

"I tried everything I could and was a bit frustrated at times, but it shouldn't affect me tomorrow."

    Dad's recovery gives Djokovic focus

    By losing the first set, Federer ended the hopes of 2007 runner-up Ferrer -- who beat Janko Tipsarevic 4-6 6-3 6-1in the final match of the round-robin stage on Saturday.

    Ferrer's victory means that Federer faces world No. 3 Andy Murray on Sunday in a rematch of the Wimbledon and Olympic finals, while Del Potro plays No. 1 Djokovic -- who won all three of his Group A games.

    World No. 5 Ferrer is one of the ATP Tour's in-form players this season, with a leading seven titles -- including his last two outings in Valencia and Paris, where Federer relinquished his title and the No. 1 ranking when he decided to skip the season's final Masters event.

    The Spaniard now has a tour-leading 74 match wins this year, one more than Djokovic.

    "I really wanted to give him a chance and give myself the best possible preparation for the semis. I really hoped I could win," said Federer, who is seeking a record-extending seventh title at the elite eight-man event.

    "It's not that I prefer David over Juan Martin -- not at all -- but I think he's had a stellar season.

    "It was a given I was going to give my very best. But I'm more disappointed for him than I am about losing today."

    Djokovic edges Murray at ATP finals

    Del Potro is appearing at the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time since 2009, when he lost in the final in the tournament's debut year in the UK capital.

    "Beating Federer is not easy for sure. But I didn't think about trying to qualify for the next round," said the 24-year-old, who has battled his way back into the top-10 after long-term wrist problems.

    "I was just thinking about my match and doing the same things like Basel. At the end I was thinking maybe it could be my last service game of the year.

    "So I put all my concentration into serving and that helped me to make fantastic first serves and many aces. But he's still the favorite to win the tournament, with Murray and Djokovic.

    "Now you have three big names in the semifinals and one big guy. I'm the number four for sure. But everything can happen. I beat Federer, Novak and Andy a long time ago, so maybe if I am lucky I can repeat that here."

        Tennis

      • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

        Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
      • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

        The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
      • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

        His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
      • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

        Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
      • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

        Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
      • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
      • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

        It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
      • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.