Roger Federer falls to Fernando Gonzalez in a thriller

Roger Federer made his ATP Finals debut in 2002. He lost in the semi-final to Lleyton Hewitt and conquered the next two editions in Houston. Federer needed only six trips to the premium ATP event to become one of the most prominent players after lifting the fourth trophy in 2007.

It was Roger’s fourth and last dominant season. He won three Major titles and two Masters 1000 crowns to keep Rafael Nadal and other rivals behind. Also, the Swiss wrapped up the year with another Shanghai title. Unlike the previous five ATP Finals campaigns, Federer had to dig deep to pass the round-robin stage following a 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 loss to Fernando Gonzalez in two hours and nine minutes.

It was the first victory for the Chilean over the Swiss in 11 encounters, seeking revenge after losing his first and only Major final against Federer in Australia. Roger won the opening set and had a chance to cross the finish line first.

He won five points more than his opponent but lost ground in the closing stages of sets two and three to experience the ninth and last defeat of the season. Federer dropped only 24 points behind the initial shot. He fended off three out of four break chances and kept his serve intact until the encounter’s last moments.

Fernando lost serve in the first service game and raised his level after that, defending five out of six break chances and emerging at the top with that lone late break in the decider. The Swiss closed the opening game with a beautiful volley winner.

He grabbed a break at 15 when Gonzalez placed a backhand beyond the baseline in game two to build an early lead. Fernando found some rhythm after that, but he could not get back into contention, as Roger fired a service winner in game nine for 6-3.

Fernando Gonzalez prevailed against Roger Federer in Shanghai 2007.

Gonzalez held at love in the second set’s seventh game and survived a challenging game nine to remain on the positive side. Federer placed a backhand down the line winner in game ten to extend the set, only to fall 3-0 behind in the tie break following the Chilean’s perfect lob.

Gonzalez sealed the breaker and a set with a service winner at 6-1, prolonging the duel and gathering boost. Federer wasted a massive opportunity to move in front in the final set’s second game. He squandered three break points, as Gonzalez rattled off five straight points and brought the game home with a perfect forehand down the line winner.

The Swiss had to work hard in his service game a few minutes later. He saved two break chances with winners and fired another from his forehand to erase a break point at 2-2 and remain in contention. Throwing everything at each other, Fernando fended off a break chance in game eight with a bullet from his backhand.

The Chilean stayed alive and clinched the tenth game with another backhand winner to level the score at 5-5. Facing an ultimate challenge in game 11, Federer got broken after Gonzalez’s volley winner, with the lower-ranked player serving for victory.

Fernando stayed calm in game 12 and held at 15 to move over the top and celebrate one of his finest victories on the Tour.

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