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Maths mayhem at World finals

sports Updated: Nov 27, 2009 22:54 IST

“Anyone know what's going on?” asked Andy Murray. He didn't know, Roger Federer didn't know, and Juan Martin del Potro thought he did know — but he was wrong.

That was the nailbiting situation at London's O2 Arena as three of the planet's top tennis players were left clueless as to whether they had made it through to the semi-finals of the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals.

Two of them had qualified from Group A — Del Potro and Federer, as it turned out — with Murray edged out of the five-million-dollar tournament by the tightest of margins on an ATP statistics boffin's calculator.

“Anyone know what's going on? I think I'm audi (out) but the rules aren't worded too well,” Murray wrote on his Twitter microblogging page.

With all three tied on matches won and percentage of sets won, it went down to games.

The Briton won 44 out of 87 games played (50.57 percent), while Del Potro won 45 out of 88 (51.14 percent).

Federer, who won 44 out of 84, was relatively in the clear on 52.38 percent.

Murray had beaten Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3), which, barring Argentina's Del Potro first beating Swiss world number one Federer, doing it in three sets, and winning a certain number of games in the process, would have been enough to see him through.

But sure enough, Del Potro defeated Federer 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, with a final set that saw Federer through after having won one game, and at 3-3 Del Potro having to win it 6-3 to go through.

As the Argentine shook hands with Federer, neither player, to answer Murray's question, had any idea what was going on.

“Sure, it's confusing,” Federer said.