Nadal sweeps through group play at Tour Finals
London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Group winner Rafael Nadal and fellow semifinalist Stan Wawrinka were Friday's round-robin winners at the season- ending ATP World Tour Finals.
The world No. 1 and 2010 runner-up Nadal went 3-0 in Group A after holding off fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the Day 5 nightcap, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, in 1 hour, 50 minutes at London's O2 Arena. The big-hitting Berdych lost despite firing 13 aces past Nadal.
Berdych went 1-2 this week and failed to qualify for the semifinals, and his loss against Nadal gave Wawrinka a place in Sunday's semis.
The reigning U.S. and French Open champion Nadal has now won 16 straight matches against Berdych, who is 3-17 lifetime against the mighty Spaniard. Nadal won all five of their meetings this year and also bested the big Czech in the 2010 Wimbledon finale.
Berdych will play for the reigning champion Czech Republic in next week's Davis Cup final against Novak Djokovic-led Serbia in Belgrade.
Meanwhile, the seventh-seeded Wawrinka improved to 2-1 for the week by overcoming third-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1, at The O2. The Swiss slugger prevailed in 2 hours, 19 minutes, launching 14 aces and breaking Ferrer's serve six times. Ferrer settled for only two breaks and zero aces in his season-ending setback.
Wawrinka is now 5-7 lifetime versus Ferrer, including 2-1 this year, as the Swiss also beat the Spaniard in a final in Portugal.
The 2007 Tour Finals runner-up Ferrer went 0-3 in this week's spirited round- robin action.
This week's four-man Group A featured Nadal, the Roland Garros runner-up Ferrer, Berdych, and Wawrinka, while Group B is comprised of the second- seeded Australian Open titlist Djokovic (2-0), fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro (1-1), sixth-seeded 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer (1-1), and eight seed Richard Gasquet (0-2). Saturday's del Potro-Federer winner will advance to the final four at the prestigious eight-player event.
Also on Saturday, Djokovic will take on Gasquet in a meaningless match in terms of the standings.
Djokovic has already captured Group B and secured a berth in the semis. The red-hot Serbian star has won his last 19 matches overall on tour, including a title last week at the Paris Masters, where he topped Ferrer in the final.
The two-time Tour Finals titlist Djokovic beat the six-time winner Federer in last year's marquee championship match at The O2.
Djokovic and Federer are the only former champions in this week's field. Nadal, Ferrer and del Potro (2009) have finished as Tour Finals runners-up.
Round-robin play will be staged through Saturday, with the semifinals on Sunday, and the final on Monday. The top-two players from each group qualify for the semis.
An undefeated champion this week would earn $1.923 million.
11/08 17:32:50 ET