Federer heads for London in winning form

 

Paris

Never write him off. Just a fortnight ago, Roger Federer was enduring his longest run without a tournament win for more than nine years and had dropped out of the world's top three for the first time since 2003. Yesterday, the Swiss won the Paris Masters to claim his second title in eight days, following his victory in Basle and install himself as the favourite to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begin at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.

Federer has not won a Grand Slam for 22 months but his 6-1, 7-6 victory over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was a reminder that the 30-year-old is still a force. No player knows better how to manage his body through a gruelling season and his decision to take a six-week break from mid-September has been rewarded with 10 victories in just 13 days.

Twelve months ago, Federer followed up two tournament wins on the European indoor circuit with victory at the O2 Arena and he looks in excellent shape to win the year-ending finale for a sixth time. The tournament promises to be a cracker. In the past, too many players have arrived exhausted by their year's efforts, but as well as Federer there are three other players in the eight-man field who are in fine form.

Andy Murray, who would love to win on home soil, has been the game's outstanding player since the US Open, while Tsonga and Tomas Berdych have both won titles since New York. Novak Djokovic, who still has to confirm his fitness after withdrawing from Paris with a shoulder injury, and Rafael Nadal, who chose not to play here and has next month's Davis Cup final to look forward to, could both struggle to make it past the round-robin group stage, the draw for which will be made tomorrow.

"It's not like in maybe other years where there were one or two such clear favourites," Federer said. "These groups we're going to see have potential for everybody to win the tournament."

This was Federer's first Masters title in 15 months but the 18th of his career. Only Nadal, with 19, has won more. Federer became the first man to reach all nine Masters Series finals and joined Andre Agassi as the only men to win seven of them. Agassi is the only other player who has won the French Open and the Paris Masters.

Federer has been suffering with a cold but never looked in trouble as Tsonga failed to find the form that saw him save three match-points against John Isner in the semi-finals. Federer, who had given one of his best performances of the year to beat Berdych on Saturday and reach the 99th final of his career, won the first five games, stunning Tsonga with the quality of his returns. If the Frenchman did not hit an ace or service winner he was invariably in trouble. A packed crowd tried to get behind their man but you sensed their efforts were half-hearted. The Paris public love Federer for his style, both on and off the court, and for the fact he speaks French fluently.

Tsonga played better in the second set and forced two break points but a repeat of his remarkable comeback victory over Federer at Wimbledon never looked likely. There were no more breaks of serve and Federer won the tiebreak 7-3.

A fan in the crowd had a hand-written placard which bore a message for the seven other contenders at the O2 Arena next week. It read: "Come on Roger – 1 Basel, 2 Paris, 3 London."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas