Roger Federer fought off stern resistance from Rafael Nadal to claim the Swiss Indoors title at Basel’s St Jakobshalle Arena on Sunday. Their first match for almost two years was eagerly anticipated and didn’t disappoint.
Federer rolled back years to win his seventh Swiss Indoors title after a stunning display of attacking tennis against old rival Nadal.
The top seed ended a five-match losing streak against Nadal to win 6-3 5-7 6-3, in their first meeting at his home ATP event in Basel.
The fast hard court surface suited Federer’s aggressive game, but he was pushed all the way by the defiant Spaniard. Nadal was broken in the fifth game of the opening set after some superb baseline play from Federer, and when he dropped serve again to lose the set the writing looked to be on the wall.
Federer looked poised to run away with the match early in the second, but Nadal refused to go down quietly, saving a break point while serving down 2-3.
He continued his stubborn battle against his opponent’s brilliance and at 5-5 his patience was rewarded, a punishing forehand leaving Federer floundering helplessly on break point. Nadal forced a decider with a hold to love.
The relentless pace continued in the third, with both players looking to open the court and keep rallies short. A Nadal double fault in the third game gave Federer a break chance, but the Spaniard dug deep to hold.
The Swiss ace finally broke Nadal’s resistance, grabbing the decisive break for 5-3 and serving out for the game after two hours and three minutes on court.
It was Federer’s 11th win over Nadal in 34 meetings, a victory that ended a run of five successive defeats, and he was understandably delighted.
“It was one of my best weeks in Basel, considering everything I’ve done throughout my career here,” said Federer. “I thought the match was close. I had my chances in the second, but he fought back well, like he’s done throughout the week really. Overall I was really happy how I played and it was a very special day. ”
Nadal, who has also reached the final of the China Open and the last four of the Shanghai Masters in recent weeks, was happy with his performance.
“My goal is to get back to my level and be competitive against the top players again,” he said. “The match wasn’t far away from me. He played well and I played well too. I want to congratulate him for the victory and I had a lot of quality things in my game and mental side to take away from the week.”