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ATP Finals: Federer to face stern Zverev test in London

Roger Federer made an excellent start to his bid for a seventh ATP Finals title with a comfortable win against Jack Sock, but his next opponent should prove to be more difficult.

The 19-time Grand Slam winner faces Alexander Zverev with both players giving us a 100% start in recommendations from the opening round of the Boris Becker group.

Federer had Sock on the back foot from the off by breaking serve in the opening game of the match en route to a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory, while Zverev fought back from a break down in the deciding set to defeat Marin Cilic 6-4 3-6 6-4 on his tournament debut.

Head-to-head meetings between the players stand at 2-2 and they have also faced each other twice this year. Federer won the first encounter at the Halle Open to win the tournament for a ninth time, but significantly Zverev exacted revenge by defeating the Swiss 6-3 6-4 in the final of the Canadian Masters in Toronto.

The 20-year-old German didn't look out of place against Cilic, who has a poor record at the end-of-season finals, but will need to improve on his first-serve stats of 55% if he is to win his second match in a row.

Federer is 8/11 to win 2-0, but 2-1 at 29/10 has much more appeal. Zverev showed no fear in his opener against Cilic and his confidence will be high following his Canadian triumph, so taking a set from the six-time champion is certainly not beyond the youngster.

Jack Sock may have ridden his luck just to get to the tournament, but he can keep his semi-final hopes alive by defeating Marin Cilic.

The Croat is slight favourite at 4/5 but he has yet to beat the American, throwing away a two-set advantage to lose the second rubber in last year's Davis Cup quarter-final and as the seventh seed was beaten in straight sets in the third round of the US Open, also in 2016.

Sock wasn't expected to beat Federer, but he took him to a tie-break for the second time in successive matches and proved he can dig deep when it matters by saving five out of six break points. Sock to win 2-1 at 17/5 looks tempting, but we'll stick with a straight win at 21/20.

Roger Federer to beat Alexander Zverev 2-1 @ 29/10

Jack Sock to beat Marin Cilic @ 21/20

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Tennis