Basel Flashback: Roger Federer wins first home title

Roger Federer claimed his first Basel title in 2006

by Jovica Ilic
Basel Flashback: Roger Federer wins first home title
© Matthew Lewis / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Thirteen years after serving as a ball boy at the home event in Basel, Roger Federer lifted his first trophy in front of the home crowd in 2006. Roger had the opportunity to fight for the title in 2000, losing in the final to Thomas Enqvist in five sets before finishing runner-up to Tim Henman 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 a year later.

Federer skipped the home event in 2004 and 2005 during his best seasons on the Tour. He returned in 2006 as world no. 1 and the favorite to finally lift the trophy in front of his friends and family. A week earlier, Roger claimed the Madrid Masters crown and shifted that form to Basel.

The home favorite defeated Tomas Zib, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and David Ferrer to reach the semi-final. He had to come from a 5-3 down in the final set tie break against Paradorn Srichaphan, winning the last four points to set up the final clash with Fernando Gonzalez.

World no. 7 was the defending champion, hoping to overcome the world's best player and lift another Basel trophy. Instead, Federer took him down 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 59 minutes, claiming his 44th ATP title and the 11th of the season.

The Swiss star hit 14 aces. He lost 17 points in 15 service games, saving both break chances to keep the pressure on the other side of the net. Roger created 11 opportunities on the return and seized three, moving two sets to love in front and sealing the deal in straight sets.

Federer had more winners and fewer unforced errors. He dominated the shortest and more extended rallies to control the scoreboard and celebrate in the last best-of-five Basel final and the final edition on the carpet surface.

Roger settled into a nice rhythm on serve right from the start. He earned a break chance in game six and converted it with a beautiful backhand down the line winner for a 4-2 lead.

Roger Federer claimed his first Basel title in 2006.

A forehand winner sent Federer 5-2 up after just 23 minutes, serving for the set two games later and closing it with an ace in under half an hour.

Fernando could not make a fresh start in set number two. He dropped serve in the first game and suffered another break to find himself 3-0 down when Roger forced an error with a deep return. Federer was still in complete control behind the initial shot, opening a 4-0 advantage with a service winner after no deuces or break chances in his games.

Gonzalez saved a set point in game seven with a beautiful drop shot before Federer brought the set home with four winners in game eight for two sets to love lead after just 56 minutes. The Chilean fended off a break chance to stay in touch at the beginning of the third set.

He got an opportunity to do something more on the return at 2-1. Roger repelled a break point with a volley winner but faced another after a forehand error. He erased it with a service winner and brought the game home with two more unreturned serves for 2-2.

They fought well in the upcoming games, and Gonzalez stayed on the positive side after saving a break point with a forehand winner at 3-3. It was Roger's turn to make damage on the return in game 11, cracking a backhand down the line winner to forge a break chance that Fernando defended with a good serve.

The Chilean played against another following Roger's similar backhand winner. The Swiss missed an excellent opportunity to move in front, sending an easy forehand long before creating the third break chance. Gonzalez saved it with an unreturned serve and eventually held when Federer's volley landed long, prevailing in the longest game of the encounter.

Feeling no pressure, Roger held at love in game 12 to set up a tie break and grabbed the lead with a mini-break in the opening point. Gonzalez's backhand error pushed the Swiss 6-3 up, and he completed the triumph with a service winner, celebrating the first title in the hometown in front of a delightful crowd.

Roger Federer