LONDON — Every time Roger Federer steps onto the court, another milestone seems to be within grasp.
He seized another one Saturday, reaching his 100th career final by beating David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals. Federer could add a few more today. He’s in position to win his 70th title overall and a record sixth at the season-ending tournament for the world’s top eight players.
“It’s obviously a special occasion for me,” said Federer, who will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.
Tsonga beat Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5 in the late match, putting the sixth-seeded Frenchman into the final of this event for the first time, in only his second appearance.
“Roger is the best player for the moment indoors,” Tsonga said. “It’s going to be really special here, for my first final here. It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere on court, and I like that. ... I know it’s the last match (of the year) so I will give it everything.”
The victory over Ferrer sent Federer past Andy Murray to No. 3 in the year-end rankings, trailing No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic and Nadal were eliminated after losing two of their round-robin matches this week, both saying their minds and bodies weren’t up for top-level tennis following another grueling season. Murray pulled out injured following his opening loss to Ferrer on Monday.
Federer – who holds a record 16 Grand Slam titles – is tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with five victories at the ATP Finals, formerly known as the Masters Cup. A win today would also tie Lendl’s record of 39 match victories in the event.
Federer became the fifth player to reach 100 finals in the open era, joining Jimmy Connors (163), Lendl (146), John McEnroe (108) and Guillermo Vilas (104).
“I’m shocked every time that I’ve reached so many finals or won against so many players or whatever record it is,” he said. “It strikes me and makes me obviously very happy and very proud that I’ve been able to do it for so many years at the highest of levels.”
And with his 806th victory Saturday, Federer moved into a share of sixth place on the career list with Stefan Edberg.
“Stefan was my idol,” Federer said. “So to achieve something that he achieved is obviously very nice. I don’t think it matters much, but it’s still very nice to get reminded that you equaled your idol’s or hero’s achievements.”
Federer will play Tsonga for the third Sunday in a row, after beating him in the Paris final two weeks ago and their first round-robin match in London last weekend.