Monday October 29, 2012
Del Potro stuns Federer to win Basel title
BASEL (Switzerland): Juan Martin del Potro, beaten in his six previous meetings with Roger Federer this year, turned the tables on the world No .1 and hometown favourite to win a memorable Basel ATP final yesterday.
Two of the three sets went to tie breaks with the towering Argentine eventually winning 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 (7-3) to claim his second title in as many weeks following his win in Vienna a week ago.
The two were meeting for the first time since their epic Olympic Games semi-final when Federer eventually won in a 36-game final set.
There was no quarter given this time, either, in a match featuring long baseline rallies and with Del Potro managing the only service break in the fifth game of the first set.
Del Potro showed an impressive all-around game to help avenge a heartbreaking loss to Federer in the Olympics Games semifinals in August.
“It’s amazing for me,” Del Potro, who never dropped serve, said in an on-court interview. “Always, playing against Roger is a pleasure. We know he’s the best player ever in this sport.”
Federer, who won the event in five of the past six years, was seeking his 77th career title to tie John McEnroe at fourth on the Open Era list.
Del Potro ended a six-match losing streak against the top-ranked Swiss this year, which also included a five-set defeat at the French Open.
“You deserved it,” Federer told his opponent on court. “You had a couple of tough losses against me this year and I’m really happy for you.”
Del Potro’s victory came in 2 hours and 44 minutes. As he did at Roland Garros and the Olympics, Del Potro took the first set, breaking Federer’s serve in the fifth game.
Federer struggled briefly with his ground strokes, netting two forehands and a backhand to give Del Potro the lead. But the second-seeded Del Potro relied on solid serving and unleashed blistering forehands when needed. He took his first set point chance when Federer sent a backhand wide.
Both players wasted their only break chances in the second set, which hinged on a tense Federer service game at 5-5.
Facing break point, Federer struck a forehand cross court winner and then saw Del Potro slip up by netting a sliced backhand on the next point. Federer controlled the tiebreaker and punched the air when he levelled the match.
Federer held three break points at 1-1 in the deciding set, but Del Potro saved them before firing an ace to win the game.
A wild Federer forehand let another break chance slip in the seventh game, which Del Potro clinched with another ace.
Federer then struck three straight aces when threatened at 5-6 down to force another tiebreaker but Del Potro was never to be denied as he won easily in the decider. — Agencies