Basel Flashback: Roger Federer defeats David Nalbandian for three-peat

Tennis - In 2008, Roger celebrated the third straight title in his hometown

by Jovica Ilic
Basel Flashback: Roger Federer defeats David Nalbandian for three-peat

After missing the home event in Basel in 2004 and 2005, Roger Federer returned stronger than ever in 2006. He claimed the first title and defended it a year later. Roger lost the ATP throne to Rafael Nadal in August 2008, but Basel's reign was still on.

The home favorite extended his streak to 15 victories and conquered the third consecutive title on October 26. Federer had to work hard against Bobby Reynolds in the opening round. Roger never faced a break point and still played a decider, prevailing 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in an hour and 50 minutes.

In the repeat of the last year's final, Federer endured another tough encounter against his good friend Jarkko Nieminen, passing the Finn in two tie breaks to reach the quarter-final. Simone Bolelli fell 6-2, 6-3 in 67 minutes, with Federer dropping 15 points behind the serve and fending off the only break chance to mount the pressure on the Italian.

Simone lost serve twice in the first set and once in the second to propel the Swiss into the last four. Facing another player from outside the top-25, Roger toppled Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-2 in swift 61 minutes to advance into his fifth Basel final, never losing serve and stealing the Spaniard's three times from four opportunities.

In their 18th and penultimate encounter on the Tour, Federer defeated David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-4 for his third Basel crown and the seventh victory in the last nine matches against the Argentine.

In 2008, Roger Federer beat David Nalbandian for the third Basel crown.

The Swiss lost only seven points in his games, never facing a break point and earning eight opportunities in David's games.

He converted one in each set to cross the finish line in no time. They had a similar number of unforced errors. Roger produced more winners and forced more of David's errors to control the pace and forge the advantage in the shortest and more extended rallies.

After three easy holds, the fourth game saw 18 points and five break chances for Roger. He wasted them and allowed David to bring the game home and level the score at 2-2. Federer fixed that two games later, scoring a break when Nalbandian hit a forehand long and holding at love to open a 5-2 lead.

Serving for the set at 5-3, the Swiss landed a service winner to take the opener in 34 minutes. He continued the same way in set number two, earning a break with a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner in the third game and moving closer to the finish line.

Both players served well in the rest of the encounter, and Roger sealed the deal with three winners at 5-4, securing his third straight Basel crown with a forehand winner and becoming the first three-time champion since Stefan Edberg in 1988.

Roger Federer David Nalbandian