Day 7 at the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals promises to produce the most entertaining action the tournament has seen thus far as three of the biggest names in tennis take center stage for the singles semifinals inside London's O2 Arena.
NADAL WINS BATTLE OF THE GREATS: Rafael Nadal advances to the final of ATP World Tour Finals after a 7-5 6-3 win over Roger Federer.— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) November 10, 2013
With the win, Nadal is headed to the tournament final for the first time since 2010. He'll have 24 hours to rest up before taking on Novak Djokovic, who had little trouble dispatching the surprising Stanislas Wawrinka.
Let's get you up to speed on the latest results from London.
|Semifinal No. 1 - (1) Rafael Nadal def. (6) Roger Federer||7-5, 6-3|
|Semifinal No. 2 - (2) Novak Djokovic def. (7) Stanislas Wawrinka||6-3, 6-3|
|Semifinal No. 1 - (6) David Marrero/Fernando Verdasco def. (3) Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo||7-6 (12-10), 7-5|
|Semifinal No. 2 - (1) Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. (2) Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares||4-6, 6-4, 10-8|
Rafael Nadal Eliminates Roger Federer as Foes Renew Epic Rivalry; 7-5, 6-3
Rafael Nadal is now just one win away from his first-ever year-end championship after beating arch rival Roger Federer for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday. Rafa's brilliant play in the big moments stood out above all else and have him soaring into Monday's final.
Both players came out strong in the opening set, as each was able to hold serve relatively easy.
TennisTV on Twitter pointed out that Federer opted to mix it up on Sunday and implement more topspin shots in the early goings:
In the first 3 matches of the #FinalShowdown Federer hit 45% topspin returns, 55% slice. Today 79% topspin, 21% slice— TennisTV (@TennisTV) November 10, 2013
The turning point in the first set came in the ninth game as Rafa took advantage of the very first break point he saw to take a 5-4 lead and put himself in position to serve out the set. But Federer wouldn't go down without a fight, and broke Nadal right back to temporarily seize momentum.
At that point, the crowd inside the O2 Arena was overwhelmingly in favor of the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
But Nadal showcased his competitive spirit in the very next game, breaking Federer again to set up yet another opportunity to serve out the set. This time he would capitalize at love to accomplish a rare feat, per SI's Beyond the Baseline on Twitter:
Nadal holds at love and takes the first set 7-5 in 43 minutes. That's just the second set he's ever taken on Federer indoors. #FinalShowdown— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) November 10, 2013
The first set stats from TennisTV on Twitter show how Nadal was able to make the most of his break-point chances and benefit from a limited number of unforced errors:
Nadal carried momentum into the second set and quickly broke Federer's serve to take control. A handful of unforced errors and some more lackluster play at the net would doom Federer the rest of the way as Nadal broke him in the final game to advance.
As SNY.tv's Adam Zagoria points out, Nadal is now 22-10 against Federer since they first met in 2004 and has certainly built an impressive case when discussing which player will go down as the greatest of all time:
The victory also marks the first time Nadal has beaten Federer indoors and the ATP World Tour Finals.
Novak Djokovic Powers Through Stanislas Wawrinka in Straight Sets, 6-3, 6-3
After a phenomenal match between Nadal and Federer got the day started, Novak Djokovic's workmanlike performance against Stanislas Wawrinka was somewhat anticlimactic.
Djokivic is no stranger to making it to the final in this prestigious event. He's the defending champion, having beaten Federer last year to win the title, and he won it back in 2008 over Nikolay Davydenko, who won it the year after.
Wawrinka is a phenomenal player, but he's not in Djokovic's class when the "Djoker" is on his game.
Such was the case on Sunday, as the former No. 1 player in the world eased through the match, winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
He's on quite a roll right now, having won 21 matches in a row, as noted by Tennis.com:
Djokovic tops Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-3, to win 21st straight and set up a Nole vs. Rafa final http://t.co/ZLL3l9SgRd— TENNIS.com (@tennis) November 10, 2013
As shown by Tennis TV, Djokovic was sharp, scoring on 73 percent of his first serves while logging just 14 unforced errors, compared to Wawrinka's 34:
Midway through the second set, Djokovic hit a winner you have to see to believe. Charging hard down the right baseline after a heated volley, he struck a perfect forehand that crossed the net perfectly and cut across Wawrinka, who was helpless to stop it.
Though not a perfect display of tennis, by any stretch, Djokovic appears to be headed for his third title at this event. After the match, Piers Newberry of BBC Sport noted Djokovic looking fresher. He also relayed the player's thoughts on his next match in the final against Nadal:
Djokovic looking a lot fresher tonight. On playing Nadal - "It's very tense, we push each other to the limit." pic.twitter.com/LeSKAiCgsk— Piers Newbery (@piersnewbery) November 10, 2013
Djokovic has traditionally fared better on hard-court surfaces, but Nadal has been playing outstanding tennis in this tournament. The highly anticipated final will surely give tennis fans s fulfilling conclusion to this year-end event.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.