He struggled to find his best tennis during the week, but Roger Federer did what champions do in his home country at Basel, Switzerland, raising the title for the ninth time after a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over surprise finalist and qualifier Marius Copil.
It was the landmark 99th career title for Federer, and leaves him one title away from 100, and also from hitting double digits at the Swiss Indoors Basel.
“It’s been a magical week for me, a dream run for me,” Federer said before attending his traditional post-final pizza party with the ballkids. Federer prior to taking to the ATP tour was a ballkid himself in Basel.
He now has a 71-9 win-loss record in Basel and has won 20 straight matches in Switzerland. The 37-year-old has reached the final the past 12 times he’s played the event.
Federer with 99 career titles only trails Jimmy Connors’ 109. Connors won many of his titles in the years when the tour was split into different factions, one referred to as the “Connors Tour” where the competition was purposefully limited for the American star.
It was Federer’s fourth title of 2018, and if he plays the Paris indoors this coming week he will retain a mathematical chance to take the year-end No. 1 ranking at the ATP Finals. In addition to Basel he has also won nine career tournament titles at the Gerry Weber Open on grass in Halle, and eight at Wimbledon.
Copil entered the event at No. 93 on the ATP rankings. The Romanian earned his first two Top 10 wins earlier in the week against No. 6 Marin Cilic and No. 5 Alexander Zverev.
For the third straight match Federer fell to an early break behind in the first set, but the Swiss eventually dug the set out in a tiebreak. Federer again fell back a break early in the second set to the 28-year-old Copil and trailed 1-4 before ripping off five straight games to close out the match.
Copil dropped to 0-2 in career finals, also losing this year in the championship match at Sofia.
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