On this day: Roger Federer runs past Jarkko Nieminen to defend Basel crown


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On this day: Roger Federer runs past Jarkko Nieminen to defend Basel crown

Competing at home ATP event in Basel since 1998, Roger Federer finally found the way to lift the trophy in 2006 after tight wins over Paradorn Srichaphan and Fernando Gonzalez, returning a year later with a title defense on his mind.

Roger didn't play that well in 2007 in comparison to the previous three seasons but he did enough to stay at the top throughout the year, winning three Majors and eight titles overall. One of those came in Basel on October 28, continuing where he left a year ago and becoming the first back-to-back Basel champion since Stefan Edberg 20 years ago!

In the first round, Roger ousted Michael Berrer 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in swift an hour and 28 minutes, getting broken twice and delivering four breaks to make a winning start. In the second round, Roger met the young Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, beating him already at Wimbledon and scoring a quick 6-1, 6-4 triumph in 58 minutes to reach the quarter-final in front of the home fans.

Del Potro earned one break but that was never enough after losing serve four times, unable to stay on the level terms with Roger in the opener or to force a decider despite a better display in sets number two. Nicolas Kiefer stood no chance against the Swiss in the quarters, with Federer earning a 6-3, 6-2 win in 71 minutes for the place in the last four, keeping the pressure on the German and notching four breaks to set the clash against Ivo Karlovic, his only rival from the top-25 that week.

It was a mighty close encounter that Roger brought home in two tie breaks after an hour and 38 minutes, taking six points more than the Croat and saving a set point at 4-5 in the opener, in what was the only break chances for Ivo in the entire match.

On the other hand, he offered Roger only two opportunities in his games, fending off both but falling short in the closing stages of both tie breaks to propel Federer into the fourth Basel final. In the final, Roger took down his good friend Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4 in 61 minutes for the second crown in front of the home fans.

It was the seventh ATP final for the Finn who couldn't do much against world no. 1, never feeling comfortable on the return and suffering one break in each set to hand the trophy to Roger. Players failed to produce high-quality clash as they had more unforced errors than winners, with Federer forcing more mistakes from the opponent to cross the finish line first in no time at all.

Jarkko had a small advantage in the more extended rallies but Roger was able to erase that deficit with much better performance in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, keeping them on his side to earn the victory in straight sets.

Federer drew first blood with a break in game two after a loose forehand from Nieminen, confirming the break with a forehand winner in game three and serving well until game nine when he closed the opener with a serve&volley after just 28 minutes.

Jarkko repelled a break point at the beginning of the second set and created his first and only in the next game, denied by a solid attack from Roger who broke a left-hander at 4-4 in the crucial moment of the entire clash.

Serving for the title at 5-4, Federer landed two volley winners to seal the deal and celebrate the second consecutive crown in front of the family, friends and fans, eager for more of the same in the years to come.