Federer outlasts Del Potro for eighth Basel title

Switzerland’s Roger Federer kisses the trophy after winning against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in their final tennis match at the Swiss Indoors ATP 500 tennis tournament on October 29, 2017 in Basel. – AFP

BASEL, Switzerland, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Roger Federer claimed an eighth Swiss Indoor title when he out-lasted Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 in front of a partisan Basel crowd on Sunday. The 36-year-old local favourite, beaten by Del Potro in consecutive Basel finals in 2012 and 2013, was ragged at times and looked in danger of an unwanted hat-trick, but showed all his battling qualities to turn the match around.

Fourth seed Del Potro, making a late run to try and qualify for next month’s ATP World Tour Finals in London, broke serve in the first game of the decider but wilted as Federer stormed back to the delight of a raucous crowd inside the St Jakobshalle. World number two Federer charged into a 5-2 lead and while Del Potro delayed the end by holding serve, Federer would not be denied and racked up his 95th career title as Del Potro fired a backhand long under pressure.

Victory means Federer trails world number one Rafael Nadal by 1,460 points going into the Paris Masters where 1,000 points are on offer for the champion. Del Potro would have moved into the eighth and final qualifying spot for London had he claimed a third Basel title, but now must reach the semi-finals at least in the French capital to make it to the season-ending tournament.

This article was published on 29/10/2017