ROGER FEDERER of Switzerland beat David Ferrer of Spain yesterday.
This is the first in an occasional series of introductory sentences that will include: a politician fiddled his expenses yesterday, the sun rose today and a train will be late tomorrow.
In short – Senor Ferrer stands all of 5ft 9in in a tennis world that favours giants – the result of this Group B match in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals was as obvious, with apologies to Raymond Chandler, as a tarantula on an angel cake.
For the record, Federer defeated the Spaniard 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in one hour 48 minutes. In the Federer v Ferrer head to head, the only variables are the scene of the defeat and the time it takes the Greatest of All Time to win.
They have played 14 times and Federer has won on each occasion. Ferrer has been vanquished in Vienna, massacred in Miami, battered in Basle and hammered in Hamburg. If this was a boxing match, there would be no need for the referee to stop it as no sane authority would authorise it in the first place.
This record suggests Ferrer is a no-hoper, a serial loser. But only against Federer. The 30-year-old has won more matches (73) than anyone else on the ATP Tour this season. He has won more titles (seven) than anyone on the ATP tour this season. He is the world No.5. Yet, he is Federer's plaything.
The Little Beast is merely the Little Pest when playing the maestro who has won 17 grand slams and moved through to the knockout stages of the tournament with this inevitable victory.
Federer was asked if the 14-0 statistic was a distraction. "In some ways it's helpful to have that one-sided head-to-head record, but at the same time it sometimes creates pressure, as well," he said. "You always feel like this next match is probably going to happen. You try hard. He tries harder, too, because all he needs is that one win."
That win remained out of reach for Ferrer whose response was succinct. "He's the best of the history. He can do everything with his game," said the Spaniard. "You know, he has a lot of weapons for to do pain in my game." This was another statement of the obvious.
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