Had the Swiss legend lost at The O2, he would have been unable to qualify for the semi-finals at the season finale in London.
But he dominated the Austrian throughout and performed a demolition job on the sixth seed, winning 6-2 6-3 in 66 minutes.
As it stands none of the four players in Group Lleyton Hewitt have qualified guaranteed their place in the knockout stages.
However, Federer, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori are all able to make it through. Just.
What makes it so complicated?
- The Nitto ATP Finals starts with a round robin format where the top eight players are split into two groups of four.
- The four players in each group play each other once and then are ranked firstly on matches won, then by the percentage of sets won and then the percentage of games won.
- Sometimes it is nice and simple when one player wins all three matches, one player wins two, one player picks up one win and the remaining player loses all three.
- But that may not happen in Federer's group.
What has happened so far and how does the table look at the minute?
- In the opening round of games, Anderson beat Thiem 6-3 7-6 and Nishikori beat Federer 7-6 6-3.
- Then Anderson beat Nishikori 6-0 6-1 and Federer beat Thiem 6-2 6-3.
- So Anderson is top of the group with two wins, four out of four sets won and a games record of 25-10 (71 per cent games won).
- Federer is second with one win and one defeat, two sets won and two sets lost and a games record of 21-18 (54 per cent games won).
- Nishikori is third with one win and one defeat, two sets won and two sets lost and a games record of 14-21 (40 per cent games won).
- Thiem is fourth with two defeats, four out of four sets lost and a games record of 14-25 (36 per cent games won).
So, how can Federer definitely get through?
- First of all, Federer will qualify for the semi-finals if he beats Anderson AND Thiem beats Nishikori.
- Federer will also go through if he beats Anderson AND Nishikori beats Thiem in three sets.
- The Swiss legend would also advance if he loses to Anderson in three sets AND Thiem beats Nishikori in two sets.
How can Federer definitely go out?
- Federer will be knocked out if he loses to Anderson AND Nishikori beats Thiem.
- Federer will also be sent home if he loses to Anderson AND Thiem beats Nishikori in three sets.
- He would be eliminated should he beat Anderson in three sets AND Nishikori beats Thiem.
What are the other scenarios?
- If Anderson beats Federer in two sets AND Thiem beats Nishikori in two sets, Anderson will top the group with two wins. Second place will be decided by the player with the highest percentage of games won out of Federer, Nishikori and Thiem as they will all have one win.
- If Federer beats Anderson in two sets AND Nishikori beats Thiem in two sets, Federer, Anderson and Nishikori will all have two wins. So the player with the highest percentage of games won will top the group and the player with the second-highest will finish second.
- Thiem can therefore only go through if he beats Nishikori in two sets AND Anderson beats Federer in two sets AND he has the highest percentage of games won out of him, Nishikori and Federer.
Does that mean Federer can win and still go out or lose and still go through?
- Yes. If Federer could beat Anderson in three sets but will go home if Nishikori beats Thiem.
- And yes. If Anderson beats Federer in three sets AND Thiem beats Nishikori in two sets, the Swiss man goes through.
When and who is he playing next?
- Thiem and Nishikori will go on court not before 2pm on Thursday 15 as they are playing in the afternoon session.
- Federer and Anderson are the evening session so will head out not before 8pm on Thursday 15.
Who could he face if he qualifies?
- In Group Guga Kuerten, Novak Djokovic is expected to top the group with three wins from three. If he does, he will face the runner-up in Group Lleyton Hewitt.
- Then the runner-up of Group Guga Kuerten will take on the winner of Group Lleyton Hewitt.
- The other players in Group Guga Kuerten are Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and John Isner.
- Djokovic beat Isner and Zverev beat Cilic in the first round of matches.
When are the semi-finals and final?
- The semi-finals take place at 2pm and 8pm on Saturday 17.
- The final is at 6pm on Sunday 18.
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