Even though both Federer and Thiem looked a little tense at the walk-on (and who could blame them), Federer’s decision to receive first looked to pay off as he got the measure of the Austrian quickly, breaking before the first changeover for a quick lead.
Although Thiem tried to go head to head with some competitive games, Federer was in no mood for a repeat of Sunday’s results, breaking Thiem once more to wrap up the first set. It was Federer quicker off the mark again in the second set, breaking Thiem in the first game.
While he was not able to take advantage of a chance for a double-break cushion, he kept hold of his lead, as Thiem looked to unravel.
Federer had previously joked before the tournament started that he had not been able to win a practice set, but after his loss to Kei Nishikori, he admitted that his practices had not been all over the place.
He said, of the decision to cancel his practice at Queen’s: “I will do the same again tomorrow because it worked. Important was not about my forehand or my backhand or my serve or anything. I guess it was my head. For that sometimes you need a break.
“I’ve been playing a lot of tennis the last two months. I saw the Nishikori match on the way back to the hotel. A good, long trip. Had a lot of time to talk. We came to the conclusions, or the coaches thought, take it easy, enjoy the day with your family, and come out happy on I don’t even know what day of the week it is today. Again, when you play Thiem, that’s what we care about, the head, not the shots.
“The shots are there. I felt that way today. So, I’m very happy that that was the right decision and I was able to show a reaction from my first-round match.”
Over the past few days, Julien Benneteau’s comments about his belief that Federer had received preferential treatment has been the topic of conversation.
Federer said: “I know about the comments, but I don’t really feel the mood during a World Tour Finals to discuss that topic. The radio interview that happened over a week ago that surfaces now in French, Julien, who is a nice guy, I know him since the junior times, I think all of this has been totally taken out of context.”
He further elaborated: “I get asked, Would you like to play Monday or Tuesday sometimes. Sometimes I get asked, Do you want to play day or night? Sometimes they go ask the agent. Sometimes they ask me, you know, Asia wants you to play at night.
“Sometimes we have our say. But I asked to play Monday at the US Open. I played Tuesday night. It’s all good, you know. I’ve had that problem for 20 years in the good way. Sometimes I get help, sometimes I don’t. I think there you have it.
“But a lot of the facts are not right, just to be clear there, from what I heard.”
The Qualification Scenarios
Here comes the science! Theoretically Anderson is in the strongest position, as he is virtually through. Even if he loses in straight sets and Kei Nishikori wins by any margin, his game percentage from his match today alone should guarantee his position.
However, the scenarios allow for it be all to play for.
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