Sock keeps hopes alive with win over erratic Cilic

Sock keeps hopes alive with win over erratic Cilic

Hot favourite Roger Federer breezed through a third set decider after being given a fright by world number three Alexander Zverev at the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour Finals.

The pair got off to winning starts in Group Boris Becker, with Zverev surviving a tense battle against Cilic and Federer enjoying a straight sets win over Jack Sock.

Twice he had to save break and therefore set points in that 12th game, but Federer's unforced error count was unusually high, affording Zverev the freedom to swing for the fences.

Andy Roddick in 2007 was the previous American to win a match in the ATP Finals.

"It was a dream for me to be part of it, where the best players take part and you can slog it out against them, knowing you're only going to get better".

"I'm happy and relieved that I can play freely against [Marin] Cilic, instead of it being a nail-biter".

Federer has always thrived on the indoor hard-court used at the O2 Arena, as he showed once again by kicking off his bid for a seventh title at the event with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over Jack Sock on Sunday.

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Cilic has now won only one of his eight matches overall at the season-ending tournament. I think it's right and fair that it's indoors, as well.

The American No 1 increased his advantage in the second set with a further break of the Cilic serve to move 4-1 ahead before he served out in style with an ace to force the deciding third set - the fourth time already this week that a match has gone the distance. "I think it's right and fair that it's indoors, as well", Federer said.

"It was a good battle and I always enjoy myself at this lovely arena", said Federer, who has now reached the semi-finals 14 times.

However, Federer, who is making his 15th appearance at the end-of-the-season event, said that the ATP finals could be held in clay court once in a while.

"My coach growing up nicknamed me "showtime" when I was young because I loved playing in front of people". A double-fault at 0-30 in the opening game of the set was all the encouragement Federer needed to put his foot on the throat of the match.

"I'm just going to try to be a little bit more stubborn in my preparations maybe for the next match, and hopefully next year".

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