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Nov 14, 2011, 10.33 AM IST
Paris master Federer is right on time for London
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - Just a week before the ATP World Tour finals, Roger Federer signalled his return to the top in timely fashion with a sensational run to the Paris Masters title.
Following a second-round rout of Adrian Mannarino, the former world number one swept past 16th-seeded Richard Gasquet, demolished Czech Tomas Berdych, the man who ended Andy Murray's 18-match winning streak, and was far too good for sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday's final.
"I'm amazed by how well I played," Federer told reporters on Sunday.
"I'm really ecstatic to have played so well this week from the first ball to the end.
"I had many attempts to win Paris-Bercy and for some reasons I had not been able to win it earlier, so it's a special victory."
A sharp first serve and deadly accurate forehand meant the Swiss 16-times grand slam champion, now fourth in the world rankings, encountered few problems in Paris but he is likely to be further tested when he defends his title at the O2 in London.
Rafa Nadal skipped the Paris event to prepare for the finals and world number one Novak Djokovic should also be fully fit after pulling out of the Paris event with a sore shoulder.
Although he lost to Berdych in the quarter-finals, world number three Murray will also be a tough nut to crack, having had a few extra days rest.
But Federer, who had won only one title this year, in Doha, before clinching back-to-back crowns in Basel and Paris, has had it all planned for a long time, taking a six-week break after a Davis Cup tie in September.
"It was some good scheduling. I always plan it long term," he said.
"I think as an athlete you need short and long-term goals and I have both," added Federer, who has dropped serve only twice this week.
"Athletes need to make sure they do take time away from the game at some time. Even I need my time away.
"It's worked out perfectly and I go into London with confidence."
Looking ahead to the World Tour finals, Federer said this year's event, featuring the top eight players of the season, would be very tight.
"This year is much more even (than the previous years), that's going to make the groups nicely balanced."
Before his first match on Sunday or Monday, the Swiss will need to iron out a few details.
"I need slight adjustments for a lower bouncing court," he said. "I hope to be in good shape."
(Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)
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