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Live Reporting

Mike Henson

All times stated are UK

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  1. Friday's order of play

    So tomorrow's singles slate looks like this:

    14:00 GMT: Rafael Nadal v David Ferrer

    20:00 GMT Andy Murray v Stan Wawrinka

    That latter match is a straight shoot-out for a semi-final spot against Roger Federer.

    We'll be here. I'll hope you will too...

  2. Djokovic into the last four

    Novak Djokovic - gentleman and scholar.

    After offering gracious words on court he heads to the wings to scribble his name on a gaggle of balls and pose of selfies with his fans.

  3. Djokovic into the last four

    Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych shake hands

    Novak Djokovic on the prospect of playing Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals: "He has another match tomorrow and I will watch that with my team to try and prepare. We have played so many times - I think a couple of times on this very court. 

    "He has played great in his first couple of matches in London and hopefully I will be able to play my best. That is what is needed to beat him."

  4. Berdych heading home

    Tomas Berdych leaves the court looking dejected

    Tomas Berdych trudges off the O2 stage on the back of three successive defeats at the World Tour Finals.

    He will hope to kick on next season under coach Dani Vallverdu.

  5. Djokovic wins

    Djokovic 6-3 7-5 Berdych

    Novak Djokovic celebrates his win

    And Novak Djokovic is back on the winning wagon. After his defeat by Roger Federer on Tuesday, he has put Tomas Berdych to the sword.

    Berdych takes the game's first point but nothing more.

    Djokovic always had his number.

  6. Djokovic breaks

    *Djokovic 6-3 6-5 Berdych

    Novak Djokovic suddenly jimmys the lock on the Tomas Berdych serve.

    Love 40 as he gets busy on return. Only another slice of Lady Luck delays Berdych's demise in the game as a net cord breaks his way.

    Berdych is all apologies.

    Djokovic ignores his palm of peace and slaps away a return winner on the next rally.

    He serves for the match next.

    Novak Djokovic looks on inbetween games
  7. Crucial game

    Gigi Salmon

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

    Djokovic skips to the back of the court. Both players take their towels. We had the tantalising 10th game. Is this the enormous 11th?

  8. Djokovic 6-3 5-5 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic drops one point on his way to the game. His game feels like it is sharpening up nicely as he comes to the pointy end of things though.

    The world number one finds a delicious angle for the final winner from behind the baseline and bang centre of the court.

  9. *Djokovic 6-3 4-5 Berdych

    Novak Djokovic reacts

    Tomas Berdych makes it to 40-0 via a chunky net cord and a whippy ace down the middle.

    Another dose of pure service speed delivers the game.

  10. Djokovic 6-3 4-4 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic chalks up another service game in unremarkable style.

    There is a distinct lack of fizzle in the O2 at the moment. There is more atmosphere in deep space.

  11. *Djokovic 6-3 3-4 Berdych

    Tomas Berdych plays a shot

    Tomas Berdych's mix of serving speed and big forehand, with a unhealthy dash of errors thrown in, is good enough to hold off an indifferent Novak Djokovic once more.

    This set feels like a flabby recent spy blockbuster that could be half an hour shorter. 

    Let's cut to the finale.

  12. Djokovic 6-3 3-3 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic, with his semi-final spot secured with the first set, is still on auto-pilot.

    His groundstrokes lack his usual venom and intent and he is made to fight through from deuce once again.

    Is he coming off the boil after a long season? Or is he still the man to beat this weekend?

  13. *Djokovic 6-3 2-3 Berdych

    Tomas Berdych picking up steam and scooping up a third game in succession.

    Mid-set momentum is one thing though, doing it at the business end is what matters.

    And no-one operates better in that zone than Novak Djokovic.

  14. Berdych breaks

    Djokovic 6-3 2-2 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic reacts after losing a point

    Boom! And Tomas Berdych is back in room!

    The Czech had looked like he was sleep-walking towards the O2 exit, but a wallop of a forehand down the line converts a break point at 30-40.

    Is there still a twist in this tale?

  15. *Djokovic 6-3 2-1 Berdych

    Tomas Berdych steadies the ship with a spitter of a serve out wide. 

    A little toe-hold in the second set? He needs to dig in deep and hard to swing the momentum back his way.

  16. Djokovic 6-3 2-0 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic hits a return

    Rolling Djok. The Novak Djokovic express is chugging for home.

    Another game disappears down the gurgler for Tomas Berdych and the spotlight swings back on his own serve.

    Berdych broke back from a break down in the first set. A double break would surely too much of a gap to bridge in the second.

  17. Djokovic breaks

    *Djokovic 6-3 1-0 Berdych

    Novak Djokovic is playing as though he wants to get back in time for last orders at the players' base at the Savoy hotel.

    He brings up 0-40 to put Berdych in a very tight little corner.

    The Czech makes a decent fist of it, but sabotages his own comeback attempt as he double-faults pushing his luck at 40-30.

  18. Djokovic wins the first set

    Djokovic 6-3 Berdych*

    Tomas Berdych looks dejected

    Stick the reserved sign down on that semi-final spot.

    Novak Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal in the last four on Saturday as he closes out the opener.

    Even if Berdych wins the match, the Czech is heading home for the year.

  19. Djokovic breaks

    *Djokovic 5-3 Berdych

    Tomas Berdych lamps a forehand at 30-15 up. It comes off the strings clean, but lands apparently a little dirty and is called out by the linesperson.

    It looked marginal in real time. Berdych opts not to invoke the video gods. Shame, because on the virtual replay it looks plain wrong with the ball snicking the paint.

    What could be 40-15 is 30-30 instead.

    Deuce. Berdych unwraps a bullwhip of an ace down the middle to see off the danger.

    But Djokovic clinches a second as Berdych touch at the net goes AWOL.

    That decision not to challenge looks costly. Djokovic to serve for the set and his semi-final spot next.

  20. Djokovic 4-3 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic hits a return

    Tomas Berdych is raiding the net like an unmanned tuck shop at the end of term.

    Another dart into front court catches Novak Djokovic by surprise and punishes the Serb's nothing-much slice.

    Djokovic is short of the full ticket as well - lacking his usual zip and fire. Deuce.

    The favourite makes it over the line, but he is being made to think and run hard out there.

  21. *Djokovic 3-3 Berdych

    Tomas Berdych's forehand is starting to fire.

    A couple of crashing strokes off his favoured wing take him to 30-0.

    But he is also showing the touch of a miniature portrait artist.

    A deft backhand pick-up half-volley is too good for Djokovic, tapping down twice to close the game.

    This is a lot tighter that many had predicted pre-match.

  22. Djokovic 3-2 Berdych*

    Tomas Berdych hits a return

    Tomas Berdych darts to the net at 15-15. Djokovic pumps down the line onto his backhand and the Czech plants away a winner.

    15-30 and a chest-swelling point to make the world number six dream impossible dreams.

    That morale boost is what Berdych will have to take from the game though. Djokovic shuts the rest of it down to edge back ahead.

  23. Berdych - 'A strong, strong athlete'

    Leon Smith

    Great Britain Davis Cup captain

    He really is a strong, strong athlete. He generates good speed on his serve. He's an exceptional player and what makes him just off the top five is maybe a little bit of movement.

  24. Berdych holds

    *Djokovic 2-2 Berdych

    Tomas Berdych plays a shot against Novak Djokovic

    Tomas Berdych clambers back from six feet under to make it  to deuce.

    Djokovic trains fire on the Berdych backhand and this time it stands firm. Advantage to the Berd-man. And then a popping ace to complete the escape!

    Could that hold be the making of him in this match?

  25. Break points Djokovic

    Djokovic 2-1 Berdych*

    Djokovic is asking questions of Tomas Berdych. And they are not about his Christmas plans.

    The big Czech's movement is found short when inquiries are made out wide by the world number one.


    Berdych knows he has to play lights-out knock-out tennis to get the straight-sets win he needs.

    But he has over-cooked a backhand long. Love-40 and three break points Djokovic.

  26. Berdych breaks

    Djokovic 2-1 Berdych*

    Tomas Berdych has attracted some sympathy support and the match is not three games old.

    The Czech's double-handed punch down the line for a winner and 15-30 is given hearty cheers by a crowd who are fearful that their evening's entertainment is going to be over sooner than they wished.

    This is more like it as the topdog is taken to deuce.

    Djokovic is a little hurried on his backhand wing and plonks into the net. Break point Berdych.

    And Djokovic nets!

    Maybe some of that pity was a little premature...

  27. Djokovic breaks

    *Djokovic 2-0 Berdych

    Novak Djokovic hits a backhand

    Tomas Berdych is staring down the opposite end and seeing an ogre.

    His big serve is cowed by the prospect of Djokovic's whip-smart return and he slides to 0-40 in dispiriting fashion.

    Three break points. Djokovic goes for the grind on the final rally, pummeling back strong and deep, but never too wide, as he challenges Berdych to chance his arm.

    Berdych coughs up the error long and has won only one of eight points so far in the match.

  28. Djokovic 1-0 Berdych*

    Novak Djokovic looks tight and tidy off the tee in the opening game.

    He peppers the corners of the service box and loses only one point on his way back to his chair for a slug of something that looks like strawberry milkshake but is doubtlessly much, much healthier.

  29. Post update

    Djokovic v Berdych

    Novak Djokovic to serve.

    Tomas Berdych, decked out in brown and beige, to receive.

  30. Post update

    Djokovic v Berdych

    Tomas Berdych

    The glimmer of hope for Tomas Berdych?

    Well, Djokovic and his last meeting was only two weeks ago at the Paris Masters event, on a court similar to the one at the O2.

    It was a straight-sets win for Djokovic, but both of those sets went to tie-breaks.

    Could they have crumbled the Czech's way?

  31. Head to head

    Djokovic v Berdych

    Tomas Berdych enters ahead of his match against Novak Djokovic

    The head-to-head record between Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych is so lop-sided that it broke the scales.

    Djokovic has won 20 of their previous 22 meetings, including all 17 on hard courts.He has won their last seven matches.

    As their credentials are read out by the O2 emcee, the difference is marked. 

    Twenty-six ATP 1000 titles for Djokovic, along with 10 Grand Slam titles. Berdych has just one Masters 1000 title.

  32. Murray-Peers out of ATP finals

    Bryan brothers

    This match is slightly later out on court than advertised (by me anyway) after Jamie Murray and Australian double partner John Peers were taken to a match tie-break in an epic final round-robin encounter against the top-seeded Bryan brothers.

    Five match points went begging for the Anglo-Aussie pair - one a clear forehand chance for Peers - before their succumbed 16-14 in the shoot-out.

    It was Murray and Peers final outing as a pairing. They go their separate ways at the end of this season and Murray will partner up with Brazil's Bruno Soares.

  33. On the hop

    Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic has been a man apart from the rest this year, but a straight-sets defeat by Tomas Berdych tonight would deprive the O2 semis of the best player in the world.

    The man himself has been warming up in east London with a giant space hopper.

    The players are due on court shortly.

  34. Big numbers for a big season

    Djokovic v Berdych

    Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer

    The Serb has won 79 out of 85 matches overall this season and was an on-fire Stan Wawrinka away from a calendar Grand Slam.

    He has been flying solo in first class, confining the likes of Andy Murray and Roger Federer to the back with the hoi polloi.

    However he was brought to earth with a bump by Federer on Tuesday as the Swiss legend prevailed 7-5 6-2 in their round-robin meeting.

  35. Djokovic v Berdych later

    Novak Djokovic

    The evening match at the O2 Arena is Tomas Berdych against world number one Novak Djokovic.

    Djokovic - on the back of one of the stellar seasons in tennis history - would fail to make the last four of the World Tour Finals if Berdych beats him in two.

    It couldn't happen. Could it?

    We will be back at about 19:45 GMT to find out....

  36. Davis Cup final

    GB captain Leon Smith on his possible number two pick: "Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and James Ward have all won Challenger events recently. It is going to be a very difficult decision but it will be for the betterment of the team.

    "I will let the players know as soon as possible.

    I will rally the possibilities around in my head for a while, consider the surface, the match-ups and the experience."

  37. Davis Cup final

    Leon Smith has come up to chat with Sue Barker in the BBC studio for a little look-forward to the Davis Cup final next weekend.

    "We are going to see an incredible quality of fight and passion from Andy come the final," he says.

    "He keeps surprising me, his ability to produce the type of tennis he does under stress, fatigue and pain. He just gives everything every time he pulls on the shirt.

    "He is the superstar, but his support for the team is phenomenal."

  38. Federer still in hunt for no.2 slot

  39. Ominous omen?

  40. Federer wins

    Federer 7-5 4-6 6-4 Nishikori

    Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori shake hands over the net

    Roger Federer: "It was extremely difficult. It was a good match, with more breaks than we are used to. Kei is a very good returner, especially on the second serve. It was a very physical match, but I enjoyed it.

    "Kei was staying aggressive and going for his shots and that makes it hard. I had to hope that he would slip.

    "Rafa, Andy or Stan - it is gong to be rough either way in the semi-finals! Regardless, I'm looking forward to it."

  41. Stats: Federer v Nishikori

    Roger Federer v Kei Nishikori stats
  42. Game, set and match

    Federer 7-5 4-6 6-4 Nishikori

    Roger Federer celebrates

    Boom! The clouted overhead finally shakes off Kei Nishikori.

  43. Match point Federer

    Federer 7-5 4-6 5-4 Nishikori*

    Kei Nishikori smacks away a running volley to sniff an escape at 40-30.

    But what a time for his first double fault of the third set to arrive. 

    We are to deuce.

    Scratch that. Match point Federer.

  44. Federer to 15-30

    Federer 7-5 4-6 5-4 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer swipes a magnificent backhand winner across court for 15-30. 

    He is two points away.

  45. Get involved - all-time favourites?


    Elaine Heyworth: All time favourite, bar Roger - Ivan Llendl. Absolutely loved him.

    Dez Kamara: Federer is the GOAT. Respect to Pete Sampras and others but bow to King Roger. Always cool as a cucumber.

  46. Federer 7-5 4-6 5-4 Nishikori*

    Kei Nishikori plays a shot

    Roger Federer feathers the pedal once again. He takes the game to love.

    We are in tight-rope territory. One slip for either man and it is likely to be curtains.

  47. *Federer 7-5 4-6 4-4 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori holds to love, wrapping up the final point of the game with a nice piece of double-bluff as he dummies to return a drop-shot with similar before accelerating the racquet head through the ball.

    The best match of the Tour Finals so far this year? No doubt about it.

    Nishikori back to 4-4 from 4-1 down for the second set in succession.

  48. Nishikori breaks

    Federer 7-5 4-6 4-3 Nishikori*

    Kei Nishikori celebrates

    Roger Federer has somehow ended up in a dogfight here.

    With nothing riding on this match for him, a less proud man might have let a stubborn Nishikori have his way and save their energy for the semi-finals.

    But that man would not have 17 Grand Slam titles to their name.

    Mammoth rallies, tricky angles, lactic loading through both players, and Nishikori finally wins the armwrestle to take the decider back on serve.  

  49. Battling back

    Tim Henman

    Former British number one on BBC Two

    You see some rallies and think if this was a boxing match, the referee should step in - but Nishikori keeps coming back for more. He's such a good competitor.

  50. *Federer 7-5 4-6 4-2 Nishikori

    The SABR - 'sneak attack by Roger' - gets dusted off for the first time as Federer darts in mid-ball toss to get up close and personal with a Nishikori second serve.

    It is so crazy it just keeps working, but it is not enough for Federer to knock Nishikori a double break down.

  51. News on the Davis Cup final

  52. Federer 7-5 4-6 4-1 Nishikori*

    Members of the Australian rugby union team including Stephen Moore, centre, and Australia"s head coach Michael Cheika watch play

    Australia rugby union captain and coach Stephen Moore and Michael Cheika - on Barbarians duty this weekend - soak up some O2 atmosphere.

    Out on court, Federer is weaving some of the old magic. A terrific pick-up half-volley, loaded with top-spin, lands to consolidate the break.

  53. Federer breaks

    *Federer 7-5 4-6 3-1 Nishikori

    Roger Federer celebrates winning a point

    A real slug-fest of a game.

    Kei Nishikori hangs very tough in a extended rally at 15-30 down, matching Federer's probing angles with relentless chase and stretch.

    Federer's language gets a little less than statesman-like as he coughs up an error to allow Nishikori back to 40-30.


    Oh brilliant. Nishikori with a brilliant one-hand backhand punch down the line after guessing right on where Roger's attempted winner was heading.

    But there is no escape. Federer crunches a second-serve return, Nishikori cannot prise it off the floor and Federer bellows a greeting to the break.

  54. Get involved - all-time favourite

    BBC Sport Facebook

    Paul Olden: For me it has to be Jan Kodes, I was 12 when he won Wimbledon in the year of the player boycott in 1973, I watched it on the BBC and my love affair with tennis began and still endures!

    Delphine Gaudeix: André Agassi was always great to watch, Tsonga is always interesting to see but Roger all the way.

    Stephan Wittendorp: Justine Henin. Best one-handed backhand ever.  

  55. Federer 7-5 4-6 2-1 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand

    With his form gone walkabout, Roger Federer survives on street-fighting instinct alone.

    He rattles off five points in a row to redeem himself from 0-40 down.

  56. Back to deuce

    *Federer 7-5 4-6 1-1 Nishikori

    There is still some grit amid all that stardust glitter. Federer clambers back to deuce.

  57. Federer three break points down

    *Federer 7-5 4-6 1-1 Nishikori

    Roger Federer hits a return

    Roger Federer backed up to 0-40. He has come off the boil big time in the last half hour or so. Very ordinary tennis...

  58. *Federer 7-5 4-6 1-1 Nishikori

    Shadow-boxing under the O2 lights.

    Kei Nishikori delivers his service game safely enough, under minimal pressure from the other end.

    The Japanese must win this match and hope for an upset from Tomas Berdych against Novak Djokovic tonight to stay in the tournament.

  59. Federer 7-5 4-6 1-0 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer reacts after a point

    Roger Federer is on power-saving mode, keeping his batteries charged for the final stages of these World Tour finals.

    A mediocre half-volley slap wide from his baseline - feet rooted and in the wrong position - allows Nishikori a couple of points in the opening game of the third set.

    This is not the Djokovic conqueror we saw earlier this week. And, to be fair, it doesn't need to be in a match that is effectively a dead rubber for the Swiss.

  60. Head-to-head: Federer v Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori has tasted sweet victory in two of his previous five meetings with Roger Federer.

    Could he be about to even up the record at three apiece?

    We are into a decider...

    Roger Federer v Kei Nishikori
  61. Nishikori wins second set

    *Federer 7-5 4-6 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori celebrates

    Kei Nishikori with a yippy pair of serves, coughs up the first point of the game.

    Fortunately for him though, the Federer game is not firing on all cylinders either.

    There is no devil to Federer's groundstrokes at the moment. An off backhand beats a wrong-footed Federer before the Swiss duffs one into the top of the net.

    All square...

  62. Federer 7-5 4-5 Nishikori*

    Nishikori to serve for the second set...

    Kei Nishikori serves
  63. Nishikori - Comeback kid

    Tim Henman

    Former British number one on BBC Two

    He's hung in there and kept being very aggressive. He's really maintained his intensity and belief, and obviously doesn't want to start his Christmas holidays just yet.

  64. Nishikori breaks

    Federer 7-5 4-5 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer reacts after losing a point

    Kei Nishikori reads a Roger Federer serve right off the page, swooping out wide to batter a return winner and bring up 30-30.

    Oh I say! And not in a good way! Federer clumps a straightforward put-away wide under no pressure to hand over a break point in shocking style.

    And another Federer error means that it is Nishikori in the pilot's seat. 

  65. *Federer 7-5 4-4 Nishikori

    Roger Federer strolling around the court, looking a little quizzically at his strings.

    They have not seen a lot of action in this game. A Nishikori ace thumps into the backboards as the Japanese holds to love and announces himself as the man with momentum in this second set.

  66. Nishikori breaks

    Federer 7-5 4-3 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer hits a forehand shot

    Well, well, well.

    Roger Federer's foot has come off the pedal. The Swiss overcooks a forehand long and has some 0-40 ugliness to dig himself out of.

    One point back in the bag, but Nishikori nails his man with a walloped forehand return.

    A squeal of delight from the Japanese and this match is alive, alive-oh.

  67. *Federer 7-5 4-2 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori is keeping Roger Federer honest, drilling a winner past a forehand waft to keep within touch in the second.

    But he needs more than service holds. He needs to stage a rebellion and fast on the Federer serve.

  68. Get Involved - All-time favourite

    (Aside from Federer)

    LauraAll time favourite I have to say Andy Murray for the men and Justine Henin for the women. Roger and Amelie a very close second #bbctennis

    Chris GoldsmithAll Time favourite tennis player, undoubtedly Andrew Castle #bbctennis

    Peter LyDefinitely Pete Sampras. I don't think I'll be watching tennis if it wasn't for Pistol Pete

    Keep 'em coming via #bbctennis or the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  69. Federer 7-5 4-1 Nishikori*

    Kei Nishikori reacts after a game

    Kei Nishikori finishes the game bent over double and clutching his knees.

    He is clutching to the coattails of a juggernaut at the moment.

    This feels like a sprint finish for Federer who is sniffing an early return back to his London lair.

  70. Saluting Federer

    Andrew Castle

    BBC Sport

    He loves the game like nobody else; he plays the game like nobody else. His record is there for all to see.

  71. Federer breaks

    *Federer 7-5 3-1 Nishikori

    And Roger Federer snaps the Nishikori serve as easily as if he was judo-chopping a twiglet.

    0-40 as the Japanese serve is hunted down wherever it tries to hide.

    A flourish of backhand sends another return streaking out of reach for a winner.

  72. Federer 7-5 2-1 Nishikori*

    Serve is still king. Roger Federer wraps up another hold to love.

    With it all quiet on the break-front, the camera pans around to the celebrity bleachers where the Barbarians rugby squad are taking in the action.

    Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, who have spent many an afternoon locked together in the middle of the Springbok scrum, are sitting side by side.

  73. Get involved - All-time favourite

    BBC Sport Facebook

    James Shambrook: Stefan Edberg. So pleased when he became Roger's coach.

    Ken Halstead: Tim Henman all the way. No one else's matches have even got close to the drama of Tim at Wimbledon.

    Marian Hindley: Sorry, but I don’t love Federer. Rafa is my favourite all time player.

    Nhlanhla Kambule: Apart from Federer it has to be Roger!

  74. *Federer 7-5 1-1 Nishikori

    Well, that was a statement of intent.

    Kei Nishikori is wrapping his racquet around the ball beautifully, thumping winners clean out of the sweet spot.

    A hold to love and over to you Roger.

  75. Federer 7-5 1-0 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer celebrates a point

    Roger Federer's fifth ace of the match brings up 30-0 before a backhand volley, beautifully dampened with the wrist tendons, wins the next point.

    Game bagged up for the loss of one point and an ominously on-point opening for Nishikori.

  76. Get Involved - All-time favourite

    Federer v Nishikori

    Roger Federer is the perennial winner of the year-end fans' favourite award.

    Our question for today is, Federer apart, who is your favourite player of all time?

    Let us know via #bbctennis or the BBC Sport Facebook page. Here's some of your thoughts, keep 'em coming...

    Alice StainerRafa for his commitment & charisma, Mac for his unpredictability, intelligence - & hair! (I was a child then ) #bbctennis#alltimefavourite

    TennisNev @bbctennis 1 Federer 2 Becker 3 McEnroe 4 Hewitt 5 Djokovic Women 1 Graf 2 Evert 3 Venus 4 Navratilova 5 Clijsters #BBCTennis#Favs

    We'll allow it, on this occasion, but we want your suggestions aside from Federer!

  77. Federer wins first set

    *Federer 7-5 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori nosedives a backhand into the middle of the net to hand Federer a first set point.

    And then twangs the tape off the same wing to hand over the opener.

  78. To deuce

    Federer 6-5 Nishikori*

    Kei Nishikori reacts

    Kei Nishikori is backed up to the brink at 0-30. It is going to take some talons and talent to keep a grip on the first set from here.

    Roger Federer twice over-cooks by minimal amounts to allow the Japanese back to 30-30.

    Oomph! Nishikori with a gutsy backhand slap down the line and that is pure gold for 40-30.

    Touche! Federer with a deft tickle down the line for deuce.

    On we go...

  79. Federer 6-5 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer dusts off the drop-shot yet again and this time he wins the battle of wits with Kei Nishikori en route to a hold to love.

    And then strips off to change his t-shirt and set a thousand optimistic smartphones snapping from the cheap seats.

  80. *Federer 5-5 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori serving to stay in the set.

    A solid first serve to steady the nerves and win the first point.

    A forehand down the line singes the top of the tape and sets up 40-15 and a rifle-crack of a serve out wide beats Federer's plunging racquet.

  81. Federer 5-4 Nishikori*

    Kei Nishikori celebrates his shot

    Kei Nishikori with the shot of the match so far as he wins a dinky net exchange with a cute backhand across court from virtually over his own shoulder.

    A nice one for the highlights reel, but it does not make any impression on the scoreboard.

  82. Federer breaks

    *Federer 4-4 Nishikori

    Roger Federer towels himself during the match

    All very well sitting in the slipstream. Can Kei Nishikori do the front running?

    Two service holds away from the first set, the Japanese frames a forehand horribly to hand Roger the first point.

    Federer sniffs out the whitewash out wide - running the legs out of Nishikori - to take the game to 30-30.

    Early in the match, but already this feels like the full Swiss inquisition as Federer mixes it up in a lengthy rally and milks Nishikori for the mistake to buy his way to deuce.

    Advantage Federer. Nishikori overreaches with his first serve. Scurry and squeak as the pair's shoes chase down the ball in a lengthy rally on break point.

    Nothing wrong with Nishikori's footwork. The racquet is the problem though and he prods wide to allow Federer back to parity.

  83. Nishikori breaks

    Federer 3-4 Nishikori*

    Now then. Kei Nishikori, zipping about the court like a battery bunny, has 0-30 to look at.

    A wicked angled backhand from well out in the wings lands for a winner across court past a stranded Federer for 15-40.

    And, whip-crack ka-blammo, there it is. Nishikori, seeing the ball like a beach ball, is a break up.

  84. *Federer 3-3 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a return

    Kei Nishikori with the wind in his sails now.

    The Japanese rattles along to 40-0 and, with a comfortable cushion, chooses to stand and deliver from the baseline.

    A crushed forehand just wide and a Federer backhand right up onto the baseline and suddenly Nishikori is looking a lot more fidgety at 40-30.

    He makes it over the line though and is back to even stevens on the scoreboard.

  85. Nishikori breaks

    Federer 3-2 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer never really recovers from a slow start to the game after folding out of its first two points.

    Down 0-30, the Swiss has an ace in his pocket to minimise the damage.

    Nishikori clambers up to 15-40, but looks a little choky as he coughs up a couple of unforced errors to allow two break points to slip away.

    A third from deuce. And this time a dipping return, right on Roger's sponsored tootsies, proves the ticket.

    Into the net on the half-volley from Federer and Nishikori has the break back.

  86. Federer breaks

    *Federer 3-1 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori reacts

    Kei Nishikori in a spot of bother at 15-30 down and with his serve as twitchy as a freshly landed trout.

    A supreme forehand down the line reels the Swiss back in to 30-30.

    But Federer forces the match's first break point at 30-40.

    Back and forth they duel. Cat and mouse, nip and tuck, as the two players trade cautious cagey backhands, fizzing with spin.

    Finally Federer applies an overdose of sauce to the ball and Nishikori overcooks wide in reply.

    First blood to the Fed.

  87. Federer 2-1 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer plays a forehand shot

    Roger Federer is just playing for kicks. That is the theory...

    He is already through to the last four, regardless of today's result, but there is no let-up in the 24-carat quality at the moment.

    He upbraids himself for a sloppy double fault, celebrates winning a point at 30-30 with a clenched fist and sees the game out with a drop-shot full of foxy cunning.

    He is fully engaged with this 'dead rubber'.

  88. *Federer 1-1 Nishikori

    Kei Nishikori is slicing and dicing off the backhand, trying to throw a spanner in the Federer game and break up the great man's rhythm.

    A nice raid to the net, but that volley is buried south. Federer nudges in to 40-30. But the world number three cuffs a backhand long and Nishikori is on the board.

  89. Federer 1-0 Nishikori*

    Roger Federer serves

    Roger Federer eases out of the blocks, serve purring like a Rolls Royce with some precision deliveries out to either wing.

    40-0 in a twinkle. Nishikori gets his eye in as he nibbles back a couple of points, but that is all he is having.

  90. Fans' favourite Federer

    Roger Federer arrives on court

    BBC TV presenter Sue Barker has been talking about Roger Federer's popularity.

    "You've just seen how popular he is and he gets that sort of reception all over the world," she said.

    "There are so many Roger Federer fans here. It's the way he plays, the manner he plays."

    But Federer aside, who is your all-time tennis favourite? Sue cheekily plumped for colleague Tim Henman, while he sided with Bjorn Borg.

    Get involved via #bbctennisor the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  91. Coin toss contretemps

    Federer v Nishikori

    It is usually a slick show at the O2.

    But this time, the simple matter of the coin toss gets away from the umpire.

    A competition winner flips the small change. The coin disappears into the bottom of the net. The umpire says that Nishikori has called right. Roger has a curious peer downwards, sniffing a mistake.

    Nishikori has got it right. 

    But Roger is so competitive, he might call for a stewards' enquiry into whether it was heads or tails. 

  92. Players on court

    Federer v Nishikori

    Roger Federer walks out ahead of his match

    More dry ice than a Boyzone concert, more tannoy decibels than an X Factor live show and the two players are out on court.

    Kei Nishikori lays out his towel on his courtside seat neat and tidy.

    Roger Federer, looking a little stubbly, strides out in his wake looking stern and focused.

  93. Head to head

    Federer v Nishikori

    Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori

    The head-to-head record between these two is tighter than a racquet string.

    Federer leads by the odd victory in five.

    His Swissness has won their last two meetings, including a 6-2 6-3 success in their round-robin stage of this tournament. 

  94. Crosstown traffic

    Federer v Nishikori (14:00 GMT)

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at the O2 Arena in London

    London's O2 Arena

    The players have been making their way to the O2 by various means this week, with most taking a 40-minute boat ride along the Thames from The Savoy - the official hotel. Jamie Murray uses his local knowledge to get an early Tube from home, brother Andy has nipped home to Surrey some nights and driven himself in. Federer, meanwhile, is not staying with the other players and almost missed kick-off time against Djokovic on Tuesday when his journey to the O2 took 2½ hours. Maybe he should borrow Jamie's Oyster card.

  95. BBC coverage

    BBC Sport

    This match is live on BBC Two with radio commentary piping loud and true over 5 live sports extra.

    No need to touch that dial though.

    This all-singing, all-dancing page serves up both on a plate. Click on the live coverage tab or the play icon at the top of this page and turn on, tune in, veg out in front of some of the season's highest quality tennis.

  96. Semi-final scenarios

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at the O2 Arena in London

    It's a soggy afternoon by the Thames but typically roasting inside the O2 Arena, where the snug temperature has already caused more than one fan to nod off during the quieter moments. That should not be an issue today as we get to the business end of the group stage, with three men battling to join Federer in the semis. Djokovic is best placed, Berdych the outsider, with Nishikori the potential surprise package. I'll leave the specific scenarios to you...

    ATP scenarios
  97. Roger dodges group-stage strife

    Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

    Roger Federer is already safe and snug in the last four of the World Tour finals after inflicting Novak Djokovic's first defeat in three months on Tuesday.

    Can Nishikori join him in the semi-finals?

    Well, chances are on the skinny side.

    The 25-year-old must beat Federer and hope that Tomas Berdych upsets Novak Djokovic this evening.

    Here is Piers with a full run-down on the possible survivors from Group Stan Smith.

  98. The rising son of Japan

    Federer v Nishikori (14:00 GMT)

    Kei Nishikori

    Getting Kei Nishikori up into the world's top 45 - a new national high for a men's singles player - became something of an obsession for Japanese tennis five years back.

    In the summer of 2011 he teetered tantalisingly at 46th on the rankings ladder. And then plummeted to 60th. But finally achieved his goal in October of that year.

    And he has not looked back since. Last year, he made his first Grand Slam final appearance - losing to  Marin Cilic at the US Open - and made the semi-finals on his first appearance at the the O2.

  99. Get with the project

    East London rave

    'Project 45' in east London. 

    An achingly trendy pop-up eaterie?  A high-profile house music collaboration?

    Nope. That will be the man opposite evergreen kingpin Roger Federer in this afternoon's action from the O2 Arena.