Juan Martín del Potro has denied Roger Federer a hometown victory yet again…
The 25-year-old Argentine tennis star defeated Federer 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4 to claim the Swiss Indoors title for the second straight year.
“I am a winner, I don’t take much confidence from losing matches,” said Federer. “I am happy about the level of my play, it’s getting better, but it’s not in losing where I get much confidence.”
Federer had hoped that the boisterous crowd support in Basel — where he is a five-time champion — could help revive his form. He’s won just one title in the past 14 months.
del Potro beat the player he described as “a big inspiration” for the third straight time, including the 2012 Basel final.
“I think Roger is playing well,” said the world No. 5 player. “For me, he has the perfect game. He played much better when he has the chance to play the top guys.”
del Potro earned his 17th career title and fourth this season. He also won at Rotterdam in February, Washington D.C. in August and Tokyo this month, all on his favored hard-court surface.
On Sunday, Federer lost the first set despite playing some of his best tennis this week.
After del Potro took a 5-3 lead with the first break, Federer responded with four straight points on his opponent’s serve and shouted in triumph.
Facing two set points in the next game, Federer hit an ace and won a long, slugging rally that brought a yell of delight from the sold-out crowd of 9,200.
Still, del Potro dominated the tiebreaker helped by two net cords in his favor, and clinched the set when Federer sent a forehand wide.
Federer leveled the match with much less drama in the second set, after breaking to take a 2-0 lead with a forehand crosscourt winner. He broke again to clinch the set, set up by a pinpoint forehand winner, and got a standing ovation as he headed back to his seat.
“Roger started to play much better. In the finals, you can’t relax in any moment,” del Potro said.
Federer quickly wasted the advantage of serving first in the third, despite saving a break point with a leaping backhand overhead winner after del Potro’s deft lob. He double-faulted to give del Potro a second opportunity and then hit a forehand long.
“I did hand the break over to him a little bit too easily in the third set, but I did well today,” Federer said.
Serving for the match, del Potro hit an ace to set up three match points, and converted the second with strong groundstrokes to move Federer around the court.
del Potro improved to 48-13 this season and earned $480,000 for the victory.