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ATP Finals preview: Who will join Roger Federer in qualifying from Group Boris Becker?

Who will join Roger Federer in qualifying from Group Boris Becker?
Who will join Federer in the final-four? (Picture: Getty)

Roger Federer has already booked his spot as the winner of Group Boris Becker, with wins over Jack Sock and Alexander Zverev confirming his route to the semi-finals.

The Swiss was pushed hard by the young German, but ultimately proved too strong to maintain his unbeaten record on an indoor hard court in 2017, and he will now face one of Dominic Thiem, David Goffin or Pablo Carreno Busta in the next round.

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While Sock and Zverev will fight it out for the chance to face Grigor Dimitrov in the last-four, Marin Cilic‘s race is run.

He will face Federer in a dead rubber on Thursday lunchtime to try and improve his miserable record of one win in eight matches at the O2.

Here we take a look at both matches and predict who will join the Swiss in the semi-finals…

Federer v Cilic (NB 2pm)

Who will join Roger Federer in qualifying from Group Boris Becker?
Federer is through (Picture: NurPhoto/Getty)

The Swiss has been in fabulous form throughout the entire year, and it was no surprise to see him carry that into the last event of the season, on his favoured surface.

His wins over Sock and Zverev didn’t necessarily show him at his very best, but he got the job done and was the first man to qualify for the next stage.

Chasing an eighth title of the year, it’s hard to see anyone stopping him right now.

Cilic v Federer

Head-to-head

Federer 7-1 Cilic

Most recent meeting

Wimbledon final 2017: Federer 6-3 6-1 6-4

Titles won in 2017

Federer 7-1 Cilic

Cilic has the unenviable task of trying to become the fifth player to beat Federer this year, despite having nothing to play for.

The Croat was comfortably beaten in the final of Wimbledon in their only meeting in 2017, although he was struggling with blisters.

Who will join Roger Federer in qualifying from Group Boris Becker?
Cilic is playing for pride (Picture: Getty)

He’s already thrown away both his opening matches having led by a break in the final set of each, and confidence must be pretty low.

The world No. 5 may benefit from Federer having nothing left to play for in the group, although the chance of closing the gap behind Rafael Nadal at the top of the ATP rankings to a mere 140 points by going unbeaten here is probably enough to see him highly motivated.

Prediction: Federer in 2

Zverev v Sock (NB 8pm)

Who will join Roger Federer in qualifying from Group Boris Becker?
Zverev pushed Federer hard (Picture: Getty)

Both men gave decent accounts of themselves against Federer, but they will be smelling blood as they look to book a spot in the semi-finals on their debut at the O2.

Zverev pushed Federer to three and will be the heavy favourite to join the Swiss in the next round after what’s been a remarkable year.

The German has won five titles already in 2017 – only Federer and Rafael Nadal have won more – and certainly feels he belongs on this stage.

Zverev v Sock

Head-to-head

Zverev 1-1 Sock

Most recent meeting

Stockholm 2016: Sock 6-7 7-6 6-4 Zverev

Titles won in 2017

Zverev 5-3 Sock

Sock has not shirked the spotlight, either.

After being the last man to qualify, following a first Masters 1000 title in Paris-Bercy, the American came back from a set down to beat Marin Cilic, after clawing his way back from a break down in the final set.

Though he is not heavily fancied, the 25-year-old seems to relish the big occasion and he will head into the final match of the group stages with nothing to lose.

Who will join Roger Federer in qualifying from Group Boris Becker?
Sock has been in good form (Picture: Getty)

Besides, Sock won his most recent meeting with the German – in what was their only clash on an indoor hard court.

Still, Zverev has grown older and wiser since then and looks formidable on any surface. He may be pushed, but he should book a tie with Dimitrov.

Prediction: Zverev in 3

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