Roger Federer failed to defend the Basel trophy in 2012, losing a thrilling final to Juan Martin del Potro after two hours and 44 minutes. The Argentine toppled the Swiss 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, dethroning the home star and lifting his 13th ATP title, the fourth of the season.
It was Juan Martin's third victory over Roger in 16 encounters, the first since the ATP Finals 2009! In their previous match a couple of months earlier, Federer prevailed 19-17 in the third set of the semi-final at the Olympic Games at Wimbledon.
The Argentine served revenge in the Swiss' hometown, joining the list of notable Basel champions. Federer fired 18 aces and faced only two break points. He lost serve once in the opener and did everything right in his service games in sets two and three, keeping the pressure on the other side.
On the other hand, del Potro fended off all five break opportunities, prevailing in the crucial moments to cross the finish line first and celebrate the title.
Juan Martin del Potro prevailed over Roger Federer in the 2012 Basel final.
Juan Martin had almost 40 winners and just over 20 unforced errors.
At the same time, Federer fired 44 winners and 40 mistakes, unable to tame his strokes more efficiently and defend the crown. Nothing separated them in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, with del Potro building the crucial advantage in the most extended rallies to lift the trophy.
Del Potro won the battle of the backhands in the opener's fifth game to score a break at 15. He moved 4-2 in front following another backhand mistake from the Swiss, settling into a fine rhythm. Serving for the set at 5-4, Juan Martin held at 30 thanks to Roger's backhand mistake, sealing the opener and taking a big step toward the finish line.
Juan Martin saved a break point in the second set's second game with a forehand down the line winner. He created his opportunity at 5-5 that Roger denied with a forehand crosscourt winner. The home favorite won the tie break 7-5 to grab the set and gather massive momentum ahead of the decider, led by the partisan crowd.
Roger squandered three break chances at 1-1 in the final set before Juan Martin closed the game with an ace in one of the encounter's crucial moments. The Swiss earned another break opportunity at 3-3, but it was not to be for him.
He sprayed a forehand error and allowed his rival to stay in touch until the tie break. The first mini-break came in the sixth point when Federer's forehand found the net. Del Potro moved 6-3 in front following a loose backhand from the defending champion, creating three match points.
Juan Martin sealed the deal on the first when Roger sent a backhand wide, beating the Swiss for the first time in three years and lifting the season's fourth crown.