Playing in his 13th hometown final and the 11th in a row, Roger Federer took down a two-time Basel champion Juan Martin del Potro by 6-7 6-4 6-3 in 2 hours and 31 minutes to lift his 8th trophy in front of the home crowd. This was their 24th meeting and the 18th win for the Swiss star, who lost the finals here to Delpo in 2012 and 2013.
In addition, they played 4 times in 2017 and Roger grabbed 3 wins, losing the most important match at the US Open in 4 sets. With this title, Roger is now alone on the Open era list with 95 ATP trophies, leaving great Ivan Lendl on 94 and trailing Jimmy Connors by 14.
Federer was unable to produce the level of tennis he brought against David Goffin last night, struggling to find the first serve and making some uncharacteristic errors in the important moments. Nonetheless, his second serve worked better than Delpo's and he saved 4 out of 7 break points to limit the damage on his serve.
The Argentine struggled to keep the pace after missing the first serve and he had to play against 15 break points, fending off 10, which wasn't enough to bring him te victory. Roger was a break up twice in the opening set, including serving for the set at 5-4, but Juan Martin refused to surrender, breaking back and overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the tie break to steal the opener by 7-5.
Federer clinched the second set with a late break in game 10 and he controlled the final set as well, despite losing his serve in the opening game. Del Potro was unable to hold the lead, losing serve in games 2 and 4 to end on the losing side and miss 200 valuable points in the ATP Race for London.
This was the 7th title of the season for Federer (the first time since 2007 that he reached that number), who is now the leader, with Nadal staying on 6, and the difference between these two great rivals on the ATP list is 1460 points, with 2500 up for grabs in Paris and London.
Del Potro pretty much stole the opening set, winning 3 points less than Roger (the Swiss served at 43%) and facing 8 break points, but he showed the real clutch every time he needed a good point on his serve. It was a shaky start for both players, with breaking in the opening 2 games, and del Potro fends off another break point in game 5, blasting a forehand winner to keep the lead.
Next time around he had to play against 2 break points and this wasn't enough for Roger to score a break either, unable to impose his shots against sharp forehands from his rival. Finally, Federer found the way to deliver a break in game 9 after amazing defense and a forehand down the line winner that sent him 5-4 in front.
He was 2 points away from the set in game 10 but Juan Martin stayed in the game and he earned a break when Roger's forehand landed long, leveling the score at 5-5 and prolonging the set. From 3-0 up in the tie break, Roger lost the next 6 points, including 2 on his serve, and the Argentine wrapped up a set with a service winner in the 12th point after a grueling 65 minutes.
Juan Martin struggled even more with his second serve in set number 2 and this time he couldn't pull a turnaround like in the first part of the match. Roger saved 2 break points in games 3 and 5 and del Potro did the same in game 4, as they stayed neck and neck before the closing stages of the set, with the pressure on Roger.
He dealt with it like a true champion, breaking his opponent in game 10 to clinch the set by 6-4 after a costly forehand error from Juan Martin. Federer was pumped and eager to continue in the same style but he suffered a break at the start of the final set when he netted a volley, giving his fans another scare.
It didn't last for long, though, as he broke back immediately with a forehand down the line winner. Another good return gave Roger the crucial break in game 4, and he only had to serve well from this point, with a 3-1 lead in his bag.
In the next 4 games, returners won 2 points in every game but they failed to reach a deuce or a break point, leaving the Swiss to serve for the title in game 9. He opened the game with a good serve and 2 sharp forehands, and the match was over when del Potro's return finished beyond the baseline.