While he wasn’t in peak form, Roger Federer ground out a three-set win over Juan Martin del Potro in the Swiss Indoors Basel final on Sunday, defeating the Argentine defending champion 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3.
It was Federer’s eighth career Basel crown.
“I think we’re both tired from a long season,” said Federer of the back-and-forth match where both players showed their nerves in the third set.
“Plus he’s been playing four straight weeks now, very successful, so we tried to give it all we had,” Federer said. “The crowd really enjoyed themselves and at the end there is always going to be a winner unfortunately in tennis. But I think we both can be very happy with the week today.”
Federer had his serve broken to start the third set but roared back with aggressive baseline play.
It was a key defeat for Del Potro, who now must go deep at the Paris Masters to have any chance of qualifying to finish in the Top 8 for the ATP Finals.
“You’ve been playing great tennis this year,” Del Potro told Federer on court after the final. “You are in fantastic shape, it’s unbelievable. I would love to be at your age in the same form, but I don’t think so.”
It was Federer’s 95th career title, which moves him into sole possession of second place on the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors’ 109 titles.
Federer improved to 11-1 against Top 10-ranked competition this year.
Del Potro was at No. 47 in the 2017-only points tally heading into this year’s US Open.
“You’ve been on a great run since the US Open and before so I’m very happy to see you playing so well again and being able to play every week,” Federer told Del Potro. “All the best for Paris and then I’ll hopefully maybe see you in London, too.”
After the match Federer delivered a shocker, announcing he was withdrawing from the Paris Masters, citing a back injury, which ends his chances to finish the year No. 1 ahead of Rafael Nadal.
“It was an emotional match,” Federer said after the final. “But a good one, I think, for the fans.”
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