May 25, 2013
Del Potro beats Federer in Basel final
Juan Martín del Potro, beaten in his six previous meetings with Roger Federer this year, turned the tables on the world number one to win a memorable Basel ATP final.
Two of the three sets went to tiebreaks with the towering Argentine eventually winning 6-4 6-7 7-6 to claim his second title in as many weeks following his win in Vienna one week ago.
The two were meeting for the first time since their epic Olympic Games semi-final when Federer eventually won in a 36-game final set.
There was no quarter given this time, either, in a match featuring long baseline rallies and with Del Potro managing the only service break in the fifth game of the first set.
The Argentine outplayed the world number one in the opening set, breaking in the fifth game before taking it 6-4. But Federer, seeking a sixth title in his home event, hit back in the second to win 7-5 in the tie-break.
Del Potro saw off four break points in the decider before taking control in the tie-break to win 7-3.
This was the first time they meet since their epic Olympic Games clash. Both players beat French opponents to reach the final of the Basel Open.
Del Potro had overpowered Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 to reach his fifth final of the year while world number one Federer met more resistance before beating Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5 6-4.
Federer has spoiled what has otherwise been an excellent year for Del Potro, winning all six of his meetings against the Argentine on a mixture of clay, grass and hard courts.
The most recent of those was their astonishing Olympic semi-final at Wimbledon where Federer won a 36-game final set.
Del Potro, who claimed his third title of the year in Vienna last week, also lost to Federer in the quarter-finals of the Australian and French Opens, the Rotterdam final, the Indian Wells quarter-final and the Dubai semi-finals.
Overall, Federer had won 13 out of 15 meetings with Del Potro whose only wins over the Swiss were at the USOpen final in 2009 and at the World Tour Finals the same year.
"You have to hit winners all the time and see if you have a chance to win, there are very few players who can beat him," Del Potro told reporters.
"This year, I have lost to him six times already, I was very close at the Olympics and I was ahead at the French open."
"It will give me a chance to measure myself against him and see how far I have come."
"The important thing is to keep getting closer to the top five," added Del Potro, who has edged his way back towards the top despite a series of injuries including a wrist problem which forced him to miss most of the 2010 season.