LONDON - Roger Federer is on the verge of qualifying for the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals after cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori at London's O2 Arena. Federer, bidding for his seventh title at the prestigious season-ending event, took just 69 minutes to secure his second Group B win and the world number two will be guaranteed a last four berth if Milos Raonic defeats Andy Murray later on Tuesday, or if Murray beats Raonic in three sets.

At 33, Federer is the oldest player to qualify for the Tour Finals in his 13th consecutive appearance, but he has been in age-defying form over the last three days. The 17-time Grand Slam champion has defeated Raonic and US Open finalist Nishikori, two of the much-touted next generation of rising stars, without dropping a set and will guarantee top spot in the group, which would bring the added bonus of likely avoiding a semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic, if he beats Murray on Thursday.

Federer, who last won the Tour Finals in 2011, didn't need to be at his very best against Nishikori, who made 30 unforced errors in a sloppy effort that left him with one win from two matches, damaging his hopes of making the last four ahead of his final group fixture against Raonic. "I've know Kei since he was 17 years old and always thought he was a great talent. He's going to have a great future so I'm very pleased with the way I played," Federer said.

"I'm looking forward to playing Andy. We've played some of the greatest matches. "I'm not sure I'm going to be able to watch him tonight though. I've got kids so it's during a time where I usually put everybody to bed!" Nishikori needed treatment on his right wrist during the match, but he hopes to be fit to face Raonic.

"It was just a little bit of soreness. I have one more day off, so I will try to recover well and hopefully I can win the next one," he said. "I didn't play really bad. But I wasn't really consistent with my serve and I had a few unforced errors. Roger took the important points and he didn't give me a chance to come back." Nishikori, the first Asian singles players to make the Tour Finals, grew up idolising Federer and admitted this week that he was completely overwhelmed by nerves when he first got the chance to play the Swiss legend.

Novak Djokovic started his bid for a third successive ATP Tour Finals title with a sublime 6-1, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic on Monday night. Djokovic took just 57 minutes to thrash US Open champion Cilic as the world number one extended his winning run at indoor events to 28 matches, a streak that includes 11 consecutive victories at the Tour Finals. The Serb, who has already triumphed in London at Wimbledon earlier this year, is bidding to become the first man to win the Tour Finals three times in a row since Ivan Lendl from 1985 to 1987 and he looks in the mood to do just that on the evidence of his latest masterclass.

"It's been a great, great match. I haven't played here for 12 months, it's great to be back. It was a great performance," Djokovic said. "Marin as a US Open winner has a lot of confidence, but I managed to neutralise his serve and get a lot of ball back in play and that was part of the tactic."