Red-hot Federer blitzes Tipsarevic

ROGER FEDERER started his bid for a seventh ATP Tour Finals title in record breaking fashion yesterday as the Swiss great crushed Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-1 at London’s O2 Arena.

Federer’s victory took him to 40 match wins in his 11 appearances at the prestigious season-ending event, breaking the previous record of 39 held by Ivan Lendl.

The 31-year-old already has a record six titles in this season-ending event after winning the tournament for the last two years and he looks in the mood to complete a hat-trick on the evidence of this emphatic Group B victory over the Serbian eighth seed in just one hour and eight minutes.

Since winning Wimbledon for a 17th Grand Slam crown and returning to the top of the world rankings in July, Federer has endured something of a rough ride by his own sky-high standards.

He squandered a chance to win a gold medal in the Olympic singles after being thrashed by Andy Murray in the final and then suffered a shock loss in the US Open quarter-finals against Tomas Berdych.

Federer (pictured) was also beaten by Juan Martin del Potro in the final of his hometown event in Basel last month and surrendered his No 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic as a result. But whatever his struggles elsewhere, Federer has always thrived at this season finale and the world No 2 was quickly into his stride against Tipsarevic.

Tipsarevic had been suffering from a virus for several days leading up to the tournament and was forced to withdraw from his Paris Masters quarter-final last week due to exhaustion.

It was hardly ideal circumstances to face a fired-up Federer and the Swiss showed no mercy, breaking in the second game and racing into a 3-0 lead. With the Serb having no impact on his opponent’s serve, the first set was over in 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Djokovic started his campaign in the O2 Arena with a 7-6 6-3 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to set up a showdown today with Group A rival Andy Murray.

Djokovic entered the season-ending tournament after losing in the second round of the Paris Masters last week. Despite describing himself as being physically down in that loss, the Australian Open champion showed no signs of fatigue against Tsonga.

The third-ranked Murray needed a wake-up call in his opening match before beating Czech Thomas Berdych 3-6 6-3 6-4, and he got it shortly after failing to convert his 10th break point.

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