Sliced and Diced: Alex De Minaur Recalls Roger Federer's Basel Brilliance

Roger Federer took down Alex de Minaur in the 2019 Basel final

by Jovica Ilic
Sliced and Diced: Alex De Minaur Recalls Roger Federer's Basel Brilliance
© Harold Cunningham / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Roger Federer enjoyed an incredible run at his home event in Basel, notching a 75-9 record and lifting ten trophies between 2006 and 2019. Roger suffered only three defeats during that period, always playing at his best in front of the home crowd and celebrating his 103rd and last ATP title in Basel five years ago.

Roger's 84th and last match in Basel came against Alex de Minaur in the 2019 final, with the Swiss ousting the Aussie 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes, lifting his tenth hometown trophy from the 15th final. Speaking about that match, de Minaur admitted he got a lesson from Federer, who killed him with slices and made him powerless on the court.

Roger fired over 20 winners and tamed his strokes nicely, keeping the pressure on the other side and reducing Alex to ten winners.

Roger Federer, Basel© Harold Cunningham / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The Swiss had the upper hand in the shortest and most advanced exchanges, staying aggressive and outplaying his opponent with a mixture of attacking slices and powerful strokes.

Thus, Federer proved his everlasting class, debuting in Basel 21 years earlier against Andre Agassi and standing as a player to beat over two decades later. Roger played well behind the first and second serve, never facing a break point and challenging Alex to repeat those numbers to stay competitive.

The young Aussie could not follow that pace, dropping almost half of the points in his games and getting broken four times from ten chances offered to the home favorite. Federer had to work a bit harder in the first game of the encounter, holding after three deuces and de Minaur's backhand error.

Alex moved 40-0 in front in the second game and seized the third game point with a forehand volley winner, leveling the score at 1-1. Roger grabbed the third game at love and made a push on the return in the next one. De Minaur netted a volley and faced three break points.

The Aussie defended the second after a 40-stroke exchange before the Swiss attacked on the third and clinched a break with a smash winner that sent him 3-1 in front. Federer cemented the lead with an ace in game five, and de Minaur reduced the deficit with a hold at 15 a few minutes later after a forehand attack and a backhand volley winner.

Roger landed a volley winner at the net in the seventh game and forced Alex's forehand mistake with a forehand attack for a massive 5-2 advantage.

Roger Federer, Basel© Harold Cunningham / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Alex de Minaur spoke about his only duel against Roger Federer in Basel 2019.

The young Aussie sprayed a forehand error while serving to stay in the set in the eighth game, offering the home favorite two set points.

Federer seized the second after de Minaur's forehand error, wrapping up the opener 6-2 in 34 minutes. Not stopping there, Roger landed a volley winner at the net for three game points in the first game of the second set. Federer attacked with a volley and drew de Minaur's mistake for a hold at love.

Alex netted a volley at the net in the second game, offering Roger three break chances. The Swiss converted the second with a forehand winner, opening a set and a break lead and racing toward the finish line and the title. Roger landed four winners in the third game, moving 40-15 in front after a 19-stroke exchange and closing it with an ace for 3-0.

Roger Federer, Basel© Harold Cunningham / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

De Minaur held at love in the fourth game, reducing the deficit before Federer fired four more direct points a few minutes later for 4-1.

Roger painted a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner in the sixth game, creating a break chance. Alex saved it and held after Roger's forehand error, staying within one break deficit. The Swiss placed a backhand down the line winner at 4-2 for 30-30 before the Aussie reached deuce with a forehand winner after a lucky net cord.

Federer fired two powerful serves for a hold and a 5-2 advantage, forcing de Minaur to serve to stay in the match in game eight. Roger attacked and drew Alex's mistake with a strong forehand, creating two match points. Federer seized the first after de Minaur's forehand error, celebrating his 103rd ATP title and the tenth in Basel.

Roger wrapped up the season inside the top-3 at 38, hoping for another strong run in 2020. However, he had to take a break following the Australian Open semi-final, revealing a knee injury and undergoing surgery. The Swiss Maestro needed another in May, wrapping up the year and hoping for a better run in 2021.

Roger returned to action in March, playing a couple of tournaments but still feeling the pain despite reaching the last eight at Wimbledon. A 20-time Major winner underwent the third surgery and ended his incredible career at the Laver Cup a year later, playing alongside Rafael Nadal.

Roger Federer, Basel© Harold Cunningham / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

"Roger gave me an absolute lesson in Basel, winning the tenth title in his hometown, as the organizers had everything ready to celebrate his milestone.

I had no idea what to do and got diced up. Roger killed me with slices, and I could not do anything," Alex de Minaur said.

Alex De Minaur Roger Federer