Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro met in the final for the Basel Open on Sunday, October 28th, when for the first time the Argentinean tennis player won the title.
By Camilla Mancini
It was no surprise that in the 2012 Swiss Indoors Open the two top seeds faced each other in the finale, but, what most fans weren’t expecting, was to see Roger Federer lose on his own home against the 8th ranked player, Juan Martin Del Potro, who he had already beat 6 times through this season. This would’ve been Fed’s sixth title, however the Argentinean managed to defeat him after 3 tough sets that prolonged for 2 hours and 45 minutes and finished in 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 7-6(7-3).
Both finalists overcame a Frenchman in semis: while Fedex had to play the wild card, Paul-Henri Mathieu (ATP’s No.59), Delpo faced Richard Gasquet, who’s 10th on the ranking and is still looking for a chance to enter the Finals. For both of Basel’s top seeds, the semi-final matches were uncomplicated. The South American closed the deal in just 67 minutes, with a double 6-2 and the local legend took 86 minutes to beat Mathieu with 7-5, 6-4.
The Tower of Tandil started strong, winning 20 of his first 25 service points and when he gain a lead at 3-2 maintained himself ahead until he charged the first set 6-4. On the second set, Delpo kept the good work with his serves, but in the 12th game he couldn’t break Federer to take a lead of 6-5 and the set went to a tie-break that Fed played better and conquered. With the score even the pressure was growing on both, but it seemed to affect a bit more to the Swiss, who couldn’t break his rival early in the set, nor in the final tie-break.
This was the fourth time the 24-years-old giant entered the Basel Singles tournament, he has been present since 2006, when he received a wild card _in fact thanks to Federer_, and gave a great performance that pulled him up to quarterfinals, where he was defeated by the Chilean Fernando González. Del Potro’s previous participation was in 2008, when he reached the semi-finals but loss to his compatriot David Nalbandian with a double 6-4.
Sunday’s match was not the first Fed and Delpo shared at the St. Jakobshalle hard courts. In 2007 they came across during the Second Round, but back then Juan Martin was only going through his second season as pro, while Roger was reaching his fourth year as No. 1; so the then-19-year-old Tower was easily blasted with 6-1, 6-4 by his elder opponent. That was just their second battle together, but until today the pair has disputed 16 matches in total, of which the Swiss Maestro has achieved 13 victories.
Clearly Del Potro has grown in experience and after the rough 2010 season _when he missed most of the tournaments due to a wrist injury and fell from the No. 4 ATP spot_, he has done a brilliant job to get back on track to the top 10 of ATP. Not just that, but, even though he failed to beat in every of the other matches he had against Federer this season, Delpo put up a real fight for the Swiss every time and finally beat him on his own territory; therefore, I must say, he really deserved the victory of such a close match.
The triumph has earned the South American a new ATP World Tour 500 title and a prize for €337,900. Plus, thanks to the 750 points earned in these past two weeks _summed between the Erste Bank Open and the Swiss Indoors championships_, Delpo has secure his entrance to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Roger Federer, who’s no stranger to the Swiss Indoors competition, for he even used to be a ball-boy as a kid, looked quite disappointed _maybe even upset_, as the Tandil Tower received the cup and prize for the champion. Now, Roger has decided to jump the Paribas Masters and prepare for the Barclays Finals, even though it means losing the first position of the South African Airways ATP Ranking to Novak Djokovic.