By Florian Heer
(October 27, 2013) BASEL, Switzerland – The ATP 500 in Basel represents Switzerland’s largest sporting event and one of the most important tennis indoor tournaments in the world. The Swiss Indoors traditionally takes place in the St. Jakobshalle with a capacity of 9.000 seats and always forms part of the end of season run-up to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. In preparation of this year’s 43rd edition, as a result of ATP specifications, the total prize money has been increased to the record sum of € 1,998 million.
In Sunday’s final, top-seed Juan Martin Del Potro attempted to retain the Swiss Indoors title against five-time champion and hometown favourite Roger Federer. This was the first repeat final in Basel since 2009 respectively 2010 when Novak Djokovic defeated Federer and the Swiss came back the next year to win the title.
Del Potro advanced to his sixth final of the year with a three-set win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin in yesterday’s semis and reached his 300th career match win on Friday defeating Paul-Henri Mathieu. On Saturday, Federer also needed to go the distance for a place in a record 10th Basel final beating Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-7, 7-5.
The 25-year-old Argentine had the better start. After thirty minutes of play, Del Potro capitalized on his first break point opportunity in the eighth game but wasn’t able to consolidate it in the following game. Federer saved two set points in the tenth game to take the opening set into the tie-break. Here, Del Potro was the more consistent player of the two winning 7-3 after 54 minutes.
With the beginning of the second set, the quality of the match improved, the rallies became more intense and many times it was the Basel-native, who had the better ending. Federer was supported by the crowd chanting “Roger, Roger”, which meanwhile led to a Davis Cup-atmosphere inside the arena. Del Potro seemed to be impressed and lost his service in the second game. By gaining another break in the ninth game, the Swiss took the set after ninety minutes.
However, it was also Federer, who lost the opening game in the final set and hasn’t been able to get back on serve until the end of the encounter. The Tandil-native closed the match out in the tenth game to take his fourth ATP World Tour title of the year winning 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 after two hours and twenty minutes. “Juan Martin deserved to win today. He played a very solid and really good match,” Federer acknowledged the performance of his opponent afterwards. “Nonetheless, for me it was also a positive week. I think, that I recently improved my game continuously, it was really ok,” the Swiss summarized the week in his hometown. The Basel champion apologized to Federer that he beat him again. “You make history in every tournament. I’m proud to play along with you in the same era of tennis,” Del Potro said to Federer.
In the doubles final two unseeded teams faced each other. Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot defeated Julian Knowle and Oliver Marach in 64 minutes. In the opening set it was Marach of the Austrian tandem, who lost his service and in the second frame Inglot got broken. The British-Philippine-combination took their second team title in the match tie-break winning 3-6, 6-3, 10-4.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! His special interest is in Spanish tennis and you can follow his twitter account @armadadetenis.