Roger Federer made it three wins out of three in the group stages of the ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Kei Nishikori.
Federer was already guaranteed a place in the semi-finals courtesy of his straight-sets wins over Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic but battled for two hours and 10 minutes to maintain his unbeaten record.
Nishikori fought back from 4-1 down in the second and third sets but ultimately it was to no avail and his hopes of reaching the last four are now over.
Djokovic will join Federer in the semi-finals unless he loses in straight sets to Berdych in the evening match.
Nishikori made the semi-finals here on his debut last year and took a set off Djokovic, and his chances looked very much alive when he overturned an early deficit with successive breaks to lead 4-3.
The Japanese is one of the cleanest hitters around and he flashed winners off both the forehand and backhand past Federer.
But the third seed was determined not to let Nishikori pull away and pumped his fist as he broke back for 4-4 before a backhand into the net from Nishikori gave Federer the set.
When Federer pulled 4-1 ahead in the second, that appeared to be that.
The trend for singles matches this week has been for a competitive first set to be followed by a whitewash of a second, but Nishikori took the attack to Federer to retrieve the break and then benefited from his opponent’s lapse in concentration.

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