Roger Federer made it clear on Saturday that he wants a 10th title at the Swiss Indoors Basel. The top-seeded Swiss booked his place in the final with a sterling 6-4, 6-4 performance against third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“It was nice to come out strong. It was a really intense 35 or 40 minutes to start. I had a good middle section which gave me the first set and the lead in the second set, and never looked back,” Federer said. “It’s hard to believe that I’m in another Basel final. It’s super exciting.”
Federer added to his staggering numbers in Basel by reaching his 13th consecutive final and 15th overall. He moved to 74-9 at this event and has won his past 23 matches on centre court. The 38-year-old is through to his sixth ATP Tour final of the season, second only to Daniil Medvedev (9), and picked up his 50th tour-level win of the year.
“Even if I’m up a set and a break, the [crowd] are not just there when I’m down in the score and feel like I need it,” Federer said. “They enjoy when I’m playing good tennis and it pushes me to play even better, keep on trying every point and try to make something happen. That’s what you do with a home court advantage.”
Awaiting him in the championship match is #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who defeated American Reilly Opelka earlier in the day. Federer will have experience on his side when they meet for the first time on Sunday. The Swiss is competing in his 157th ATP Tour final (102-54), compared to six for De Minaur (3-2).
Federer was 0-12 on break points during his loss to Tsitsipas at this year’s Australian Openand couldn’t convert his first five in their latest clash. But with Tsitsipas serving at 2-2 in the first set, Federer let out a roar of approval after getting over the line with a strong forehand approach.
The Swiss looked to move forward whenever possible and was nearly flawless when he did, winning nine of 10 net points in the opening set. Serving for the set at 5-4, he fired three aces and a delicate drop volley winner to grab the early advantage.
Tsitsipas was left to ruminate over hitting more winners than unforced errors (11 to 9), yet still coming up short. The Greek felt the pressure in the second set, hitting a double fault and a pair of wild baseline errors in the opening game to give Federer two break points. The top seed converted on his second with a forehand winner and jogged to his chair.
Federer’s outstanding serving led to little resistance from Tsitsipas, with the Swiss dropping just eight points in his first nine service games. The third seed earned his first break point with Federer serving for the match at 5-4, but played it tentatively and pushed a forehand long. Two points later, a swinging forehand volley winner closed out play after 79 minutes. Federer finished the day with 28 winners to 11 unforced errors.
Despite the loss, Tsitsipas can be pleased with another strong week. He’s won 10 of his past 13 matches and reached at least the semi-finals in his past three ATP Tour events.