By Ros Satar at the Nitto ATP Finals in London
- Roger Federer  v Stefanos Tsitsipas 
- Dominic Thiem  v Alexander Zverev 
LONDON, UK – The semi-finals are set as six-time champion Roger Federer and defending Alexander Zverev on a collision course for a final showdown.
Roger Federer  v Stefanos Tsitsipas  | Federer leads H2H 2-1
Six-time champion Roger Federer will face Stefanos Tsitsipas once more indoors, having eased past him in the Basel semi-final. Federer has improved match on match, recovering from losing his opening match to back to back convincing wins, including snapping a five-match losing streak going back to the 2015 ATP Finals.
Federer was never expected to beat Novak Djokovic, who looked ill-at-ease, and in doing so, sent Rafael Nadal to the season-ending No. 1 spot. However, there is the small matter of chasing a record seventh title at the year-end finale.
Tsitsipas had already qualified when he faced Nadal earlier in the day but put up a worthy three-set fight, despite being first up in the day.
“I wanted to win but probably wasn’t willing to die on the court for that. But despite that, things went well, really well. My main focus is doing well in the semi-finals more than this match.”
Tsitsipas can take some hope in that on the bigger stage he was able to get the measure of Federer, beating him in four tight sets at the Australian Open this year. What has impressed is his ability to come forward and not over-press – which can be a Tsitsipas trait from time to time.
In the battle of the single-handed backhands, the faster court may well suit the more aggressive of the two. However, experience will also play a part and it might just be the old man’s night.
Prediction: Federer in three sets.
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Dominic Thiem  v Alexander Zverev  | Thiem leads H2H 5-2
Two old friends and regular adversaries Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev square up again. This time defending champion Zverev needs to dig deep once more as Thiem started the tournament as though he means to make his mark on the indoor hard courts.
Starting with his stunning win over Federer, backing up with a gruelling win over Djokovic, he looked and felt a little out of sorts, losing to debutante Matteo Berrettini but will need to dig deep if he wants to spoil Zverev’s party.
While Thiem has almost always had the upper hand on clay save for the 2018 Madrid Masters, which was Zverev’s moment, the German’s only other win was in Beijing on outdoor hard, but we can no longer dismiss Thiem as just a clay-courter.
The intensity that Thiem brought to his first two matches may have left him a little undercooked, but this feels like a more level playing field. Zverev may not have the chance to play his almost languid patient game, and Thiem will be hustling the ball.
It has been a monumental effort for Zverev to overcome some of the off-court challenges that have affected his on-court results, and he came good just in time to grab a qualifying spot, but it feels like it is Thiem’s time.
Prediction: Thiem in three sets.
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