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History at Home: Federer Retrieves Basel Title from Djokovic

Last year, a shocked public watched as Novak Djokovic stopped Roger Federer from taking his fourth consecutive trophy at the Swiss Indoors Basel.  With the U.S. Open debacle also fresh on his mind, Federer had no lack of incentives to want to payback Djokovic.  Federer avenged both losses, downing defending champion Djokovic 6-4,3-6,6-1 to become the first player to triumph four times at the 40 year old tournament.

After opening up the match with a forehand return winner, Federer manufactured double break point.  However, due to errors, Federer could not capitalize.  Then, with a backhand down the line pass, Djokovic fabricated break point.  With a good serve, Federer managed the situation.  Subsequent to dismissing another break point, Federer found the equalizer for 1 all.  By sending a backhand long, Djokovic allowed a game point to vanish.  Later, by misdirecting a backhand crosscourt, Djokovic gave Federer another chance to break.  On that occasion, Federer thumped a forehand thereby provoking the error from Djokovic for the break at 2-1.  Next, with a love game, Federer consolidated for 3-1. On the heels of a pressure service game, Federer connected with an ace for a love hold and extended his lead to 5-3.  Serving for the set at 5-4, Federer misfired with a forehand up the line to hand Djokovic a break point.  Fortunately for Federer, on a neutral ball after a second serve, Djokovic committed a forehand miscue for deuce.  Eventually by forcing a couple of mistakes, Federer bagged the first set.

Following a prompt hold by Djokovic, Federer made two straight flubs to give his opponent double break point.  With Federer’s backhand crosscourt landing wide, Djokovic secured the break.  Then, with his second love game of the set, Djokovic stretched his lead to 3-0.  Despite guarding serve easily the rest of the way, Federer produced too many mistakes.  As such, Djokovic had no trouble extending his advantage to 5-2.  Yet, in closing out the set, Djokovic pushed a forehand long, donating a break point to his rival.  But, Djokovic came up with a tremendous serve and got to deuce.  Ultimately, Djokovic wrapped up the game to drive the championship into a decisive set.

Federer commenced the set with a love game and after a forehand up the line winner should have had triple break point.  However, an overcooked forehand and cavalier overhead permitted Djokovic to obtain the upper hand at 30-15.  As such, Djokovic leveled the set at 1 all.  Unfazed, Federer again needed only four points for 2-1.  Then, when Djokovic’s normally reliable crosscourt backhand went wide, Federer arrived at break point.  With Djokovic double faulting, Federer had a 3-1 edge.  Cruising on serve, Federer had no problem getting to 4-1.  As Djokovic netted a backhand intended to go up the line, Federer had another break point.  Despite missing a makeable backhand pass, Federer received two additional opportunities that game and finally grabbed the third to widen his lead by a double break.  At triple championship point, Federer crushed a backhand down the line winner to claim his 65th career title.

Djokovic demonstrated great sportsmanship in his speech and even turned the microphone to interview Federer in a moment of levity.  Victorious in his Basel debut  last year, Djokovic is well respected.  After congratulating his adversary, Djokovic said it will be “my pleasure to come [back] here next year and I hope I can go all the way”.

For Federer this historic fourth win at home coincides with his fourth title of the season.  A little misty eyed, Federer saluted the jubilant crowd.  As a youngster, Federer was a ball boy at this event.  Consequently, this tournament is extremely meaningful to the multiple major champion.  Beaming as he clung the trophy, Federer likewise commended Djokovic citing “congrats, you’ve played great this week”.  After thanking all his supporters along with the sponsors, Federer expressed he was looking forward to returning next season.  This represents the ninth different tournament which Federer has won at least four times.

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