Federer earned a 7-5, 6-3 triumph on Saturday and is in position to claim the season-ending tournament for a record sixth time. He beat Rafael Nadal for last year's crown and will face either Tomas Berdych or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for this year's championship on Sunday.
The Swiss superstar has been on a late-season surge. He went unbeaten in three matches during round-robin play this week to win Group B, and has now won 16 straight matches dating back to a loss to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. After a couple of Davis Cup wins in September, Federer won titles at the Swiss Indoors and Paris Masters earlier this month prior to this week's run.
Federer broke Ferrer's serve in the 11th game of the first set, then held at love to win it. A break of serve to start the second set was all Federer needed and he wrapped up the match with another break to close it out.
Ferrer won just one point against Federer's serve in the second set and did not manage a single break-point chance during the match. He dropped to 0-12 lifetime against Federer, including a loss in the final of this event four years ago when it was held in Shanghai.
Federer will try for his 70th career title and fourth this year. He won the season-opening event in Qatar before enduring a lengthy dry spell that finally ended with the triumph in his native Basel to start the month of November.
In addition, he will now finish the year ranked in the top three for a ninth straight season.
Another win on Sunday would also give Federer his 39th career victory in the Tour Finals, tying him for the most all-time with Ivan Lendl. He would also surpass Lendl and Pete Sampras for the most titles in the season-ending event.
Federer joined Jimmy Connors (163), Lendl (146), John McEnroe (108) and Guillermo Vilas (104) as the only players in the Open Era (1968) to reach 100 Tour-level finals, and Saturday's win was the 806th of his career to match Stefan Edberg for sixth-most in the Open Era.
Should Federer face Tsonga in the final, it would mark the eighth meeting for the two this year and the 11th overall. Federer owns a 7-3 record against the Frenchman, including 5-2 in 2011. The 16-time Grand Slam champ has won the last three, including a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 triumph earlier this week in group play.
Federer also has a strong history against Berdych with a 10-4 lifetime mark. However, Berdych has won three of the five matchups since 2010, including a stunning triumph in the 2010 Wimbledon quarterfinals. The two have split a pair of matchups this year -- Berdych winning in the Cincinnati quarterfinals and Federer prevailing in the semifinals earlier this month in Paris.