TENNIS

Ferrer waits on Federer

Spaniard's chances of progressing in London depend on Swiss

David Ferrer returns against Roger Federer during their group B singles match on Thursday.
David Ferrer returns against Roger Federer during their group B singles match on Thursday.GLYN KIRK / AFP

David Ferrer’s year-end dream — to usurp countryman Rafael Nadal as the world number four — is in the hands of the man who beat him at the World Tour Finals in London on Thursday.

Ferrer, the lone Spaniard in the field in the absence through injury of Nadal, lost to Roger Federer for a 14th consecutive time in the season finale and now needs not only to beat Janko Tipsarevic in his final Group B match on Saturday but also to hope that the Swiss completes a clean sweep of the round robin by dispatching Juan Martín del Potro. If both players win their matches, the Argentinean will advance by dint of his superior sets-won statistic.

Del Potro and Federer, who has already qualified for the semifinals in his pursuit of a seventh Tour Finals crown, met in Basel last month where the Argentinean tasted victory in three sets. “Federer is the best player in history,” said Ferrer in the wake of his defeat. “He can do everything. He has so many weapons that can hurt me. Now I have to win to go through to the semifinals, it’s my only chance. I have to very solid, very consistent. That’s the key.”

Ferrer and Tipsarevic play in the evening session, by which time the Spaniard will know whether or not classification is still possible; Federer and Del Potro play in the afternoon. Also on Saturday’s bill are doubles pair Marcel Granollers and Marc López, who need Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek to do them a favor against the formidable Bryan brothers.