After claiming five ATP crowns in 2014, Roger Federer went even further the following season, lifting six trophies, including a title defense in the hometown of Basel. On November 1, Federer defeated his great rival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and three minutes for the seventh Basel crown and the first triumph over the Spaniard since the Australian Open 2012!
Between 2013-14, Rafa dropped only one set in five encounters versus Roger. The Swiss had a perfect opportunity to avenge some of those losses in front of the home fans and with a roof above his head, scoring the fifth indoor victory over Nadal in six encounters.
Philipp Kohlschreiber and David Goffin took a set out from Roger, but the home favorite did enough to overcome four obstacles and reach the title match for the tenth time in a row at his beloved event! Nadal prevailed against Lukas Rosol in the first round and defeated Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet to advance into the final, seeking the first indoor hard crown ten years after Madrid 2005.
Both players served at 68% and Roger drew more from that, hitting 33 service winners against 17 from Rafa and outplaying the opponent in the shortest rallies to create the crucial difference. They had a similar number of groundstroke winners, while Roger dominated at the net, keeping the points on his racquet and hitting ten volley winners to put Nadal out from the comfort zone and avoid lengthy exchanges.
Federer had almost twice as many winners than Nadal, taming his shots nicely to stay away from too many unforced errors and properly defending his backhand wing to get broken only once. Nadal had to play against seven break chances and suffered three breaks, unable to follow Roger's pace in the shortest exchanges or impose his strokes and prolong the rallies in the way he wanted.
Rafa held at 15 in the opening game after a backhand down the line winner and created a break opportunity in game two that could have given him early momentum.
In 2015, Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster Basel final.
Roger saved it with a drive volley winner and converted the third chance in game five to move 3-2 up when his forehand barely caught the line.
Nadal had a chance to pull the break back in the next one, but Federer landed a forehand crosscourt winner to repel it, moving 4-2 ahead with two service winners that cemented his lead. Serving to stay in the set at 3-5, Nadal got broken at love after a forehand winner from Roger, who sealed the opener in 37 minutes to gain a massive boost before the rest of the encounter.
Another fantastic forehand drove Federer in front at the beginning of the second set, holding with a service winner in games three and five to maintain the advantage and mount the pressure on Rafa. The Spaniard saved a break chance at 2-3 with a service winner, and they both served well until 5-5 when Roger missed an easy forehand to offer a break chance to his rival.
Nadal converted it with a deep backhand attack and delivered his best hold of the match with four winners to grab the set 7-5 and force a decider. There, Rafa erased a break opportunity with a backhand crosscourt winner in the fourth game but couldn't do the same at 3-4, losing a backhand exchange and sending Roger 5-3 up.
Nadal stayed in the next game with a backhand winner before Federer delivered an astonishing attack for another match point, converting it with an unreturned serve to celebrate the title and the first victory over Rafa in more than three and a half years!