London, Nov 27: Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be chasing history when they meet Sunday in the title clash of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Federer is trying to become the first player to win the title six times, while Tsonga is attempting to become the first Frenchman ever to win the year-end championship since the tournament began in 1970.
Tsonga, who will be looking to improve a 3-7 record against Federer, defeated seventh seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5 Saturday night, in front of a capacity 17,500-strong crowd at The O2, to avenge his China Open loss in Beijing last month.
‘All the time (it’s) really exciting to play against Roger. It’s going to be really special here, for my first final. It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere I think on the court, and I like that. I’m sure I will respect Roger a lot and play my best tennis,’ Tsonga was quoted as saying in the ATP website.
Tsonga is trying to become just the fifth player ever to beat Federer three or more times in a season (Nadal has done it in three seasons, Djokovic two seasons and Murray and Nalbandian one season each).
Federer comes into the final with a lot of momentum, undefeated since the US Open, coming in on a 16-match winning streak. This is his longest win streak since a 21-match win streak in 2009. Interestingly, it was none other than Tsonga, who snapped that winning run.
Federer has won his last three meetings with Tsonga, including a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory in the opening Group B round robin match last Sunday.
After going 3-0 in his round robin group and beating David Ferrer for the 12th time in as many meetings in the semi-finals, Federer is now one win away from becoming the first player ever to win the year-end championship title six times (he is currently tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras at five titles).
The only other tournament he has won six times is Wimbledon. He is also one win away from having the equal-most match wins ever at this tournament (he has 38, Lendl has 39). There’s another first within reach for the 30-year-old- he is one win away from becoming the oldest player to win this title. Ilie Nastase was 29 years old when he won in 1975. By reaching the final, Federer will pass Andy Murray and return to No. 3 in the year-end rankings.