Roger Federer is the only member of the world's top four left in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after Novak Djokovic went the way of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray here last night. In today's semi-finals the world No 1 will face Nikolay Davydenko, while Juan Martin del Potro will play Robin Soderling.
Two players went through to the semi-finals from both four-man sections in the round-robin phase of the tournament and Group B finished last night in much the same way as Group A had 24 hours earlier. Djokovic's 7-6, 6-3 victory over Nadal and Davydenko's 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 win against Soderling left three of the four men on two victories apiece, with Djokovic losing out as the player with the lowest percentage of sets won.
Nadal had already been the first to be eliminated after losing his first two matches in straight sets. Yesterday's defeat was his fourth in a row – the last time the Spaniard had such a bad run was in 2004, when he was just 17 – and his eighth match in succession against a top eight player in which he has failed even to win a set.
Davydenko, the runner-up last year, has lost all 12 of his matches against Federer. The other semi-final is more evenly matched, with Del Potro and Soderling having won one match each.
After the shambolic scenes on Thursday night, when players and spectators waited long after the final match to learn who had qualified from Group A, tournament organisers promised yesterday to review their procedures before the event returns here next year.
The delay occurred after Federer, Del Potro and Andy Murray finished level on matches and sets won and had to be separated by a countback on the percentage of games won in their round-robin matches. Federer and Del Potro qualified for the semi-finals as Murray went out by the tiniest of margins, his win-loss record in games standing at 44-43 compared with Del Potro's tally of 45-43.
Brad Drewett, the tournament director, agreed that improvements in communications needed to be made before next year, but said he did not regard what had happened as an embarrassment. He said that proper procedures had been followed and that the delay had been caused by the tournament supervisor having to be on the court during the match and then having to ratify the final table.
Murray's failure to reach the semi-finals could cost him his place at No 4 in the world rankings. Del Potro has been closing on the Scot in recent weeks and would overhaul him if he were to win here.