Roger Federer shrugged off the passing of time to swagger past the dangerous Anderson 6-4 6-3 and reach the semifinals of the ATP Tour Finals for the 15th time in 16 appearances at the event.
Record six-time champion Federer turned on the style to avenge this year’s gut-wrenching Wimbledon quarterfinal defeat by Anderson in which he squandered a match point.
Federer and Anderson both ended up with two wins in the Lleyton Hewitt group but the Swiss grabbed first place on the head-to-head record – meaning he is likely to avoid world No 1 Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s last four.
Djokovic will top the other group unless he loses to Marin Cilic and John Isner beats Alexander Zverev.
Earlier on Thursday, Dominic Thiem beat Nishikori 6-1 6-4 – a result that meant the Austrian would reach the semifinals if Federer lost to Anderson and won fewer than six games.
Thiem admitted he was not holding his breath and from the moment Federer took the first set it was just a case of whether the second seed or Anderson would top the group.
“Very happy, the first match against Kei was tough, I never got going,” Federer, who rebounded from an ugly performance against Nishikori to beat Thiem in his second round-robin match in the Lleyton Hewitt group, said on court.
“With my back against the wall maybe it’s easier for me to play. I played some good tennis today and I’m thrilled, excited to be in the semis.”
Anderson’s consolation is that he becomes the first South African to reach the semis in the tournament’s 48-year history.