BASEL, Switzerland, (Reuters) – Roger Federer displayed some rare flashes of temper as he battled past Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 for an eighth Swiss Indoors title in front of a partisan Basel crowd yesterday.
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 fighting 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.
In edging past Ivan Lendl’s 94 Federer is now alone in second place on the all-time titles list which American great Jimmy Connors leads with 109.
However, his chances of snatching the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal before the end of the season are all but over as the Swiss pulled out of next week’s Paris Masters citing a back injury.