Andy Murray

London, Nov 12: Local hero Andy Murray kept alive his chance of entering the semi-finals from Group B by beating Milos Raonic while second seed Roger Federer recorded his second victory with a defeat of fourth seed Kei Nishikori in the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena here.

Fifth seed Murray, who lost to Nishikori in the first match, registered a 6-3, 7-5 victory over seventh seed Raonic of Canada Tuesday, reports Xinhua. Murray will next face six-time champion Federer Thursday in their final group match. Raonic saved two break points at 1-2 but was broken two games later by Murray. Both players exchanged breaks early in the second set before Raonic was broken to give Murray a 6-5 lead.

Murray, who had lost his two previous encounters with the big-serving Raonic, ensured some suspense for the last day of matches in his group, with all four players retaining a chance to progress. “It’s a nice match on Thursday to look forward to. It’ll be a great atmosphere again,” said Murray.

“It’s always a pleasure to play against Roger. He’s one of the greatest players that has ever played, so to get the opportunity to play him in an atmosphere like this is excellent.” Federer, 33, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, defeated fourth seed Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 for his 70th match win of the year, which includes five titles.

“I think with my game, I have the capability of really making him feel uncomfortable. But it’s not always possible. He’s shown in the past when he gets the upper hand against any player from the baseline, he’s very difficult to beat. Today for some reason he failed,” Federer said.

“Maybe I was playing too well, mixing up my serve good enough. It was really important to take advantage of the fact that I was feeling really good, and then maybe he was struggling a little bit today.” Federer said that he will look to maintain the winning momentum into the semi-finals.

“There’s so much still at stake for me, wanting to beat a fellow rival and wanting to win the points that are at stake, go in with a clean sheet into the semis. I’m happy after two matches I’m standing here with two wins. It’s very positive.”

Nishikori, the first Asian player to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals will now face Raonic in his final group match Thursday. “He didn’t give me a chance to come back. I didn’t play badly. I don’t feel that he’s 33 right now. He still looks young and plays amazing tennis,” said Nishikori.