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Del Potro Fights Hard To Edge Basel Native Federer For Title

Basel, Switzerland

Juan Martin del Potro captured his fourth ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday at the Swiss Indoors Basel. He is the first Argentinean to lift the trophy since Guillermo Coria in 2003.

Second seed del Potro defeated the top seed and hometown favourite Roger Federer, a five-time titlist, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(3) in two hours and 45 minutes to add to his Erste Bank Open title (d. Zemlja), which he won seven days ago in Vienna.

"It was an unbelievable final, the match was really close," said del Potro. "After six losses, it was a big win for me. I was fighting all the time. I got lucky in the end, but I felt that I played a really good match.

"I was focused on my defensive game, keeping the ball in play and building my confidence in order to break his serve. It was tough for both of us. I want to enjoy this title, then get ready to play in Paris and London."

The 24-year-old del Potro beat Federer for the first time since November 2009 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and is now 3-13 lifetime against the World No. 1, who drops to 76-33 in finals.

Del Potro received a cheque for €337,900 and earned 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while fellow Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualifier Federer picked up €152,350 and 300 points for finishing runner-up in his ninth Basel final (5-4 overall).

Federer was looking to capture his 77th title, which would have drawn him level at No. 3 in the Open Era titles list with John McEnroe. Federer has won 875 matches during his career (also level with McEnroe).

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Del Potro won 20 of his 25 service points and hit four aces in his first five service games. He broke Federer to 15 for a 3-2 lead that he maintained to win the 35-minute opener.

FedererDel Potro continued to serve well in the second set and could have taken a 6-5 lead, if he had broken Federer at advantage in the 12th game, but the set was decided on a tie-break. Federer won four straight points from 1-1 and went onto wrap up the 64-minute set to level the score-line at one-set apiece.

Federer could not convert two break points at 2-1 and one point at 3-3 in the deciding set. In the tie-break, del Potro took a 4-2 lead and went onto improve to an ATP World Tour-best 17-1 record indoors this year. He is now 6-12 this year against Top 10 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

"I thought overall I played pretty good," said Federer. "He got off to a bit of a better start, but it was close. He served well at the beginning, which made him the better player in the first set. The second set was close. He didn’t play a very good tie-break and then I had my chances early on in the third. I couldn’t break, despite doing the right things, but then I didn’t play a good tie-break myself.

"He has been playing really well this season. I have played him seven times. Every time, I can see he is extremely tough. He has been making the right improvements throughout the year. He is, basically, right there again."

Federer has a 69-10 match record on the season, highlighted by six titles including Wimbledon (d. Murray). Del Potro is now 13-5 in tour-level finals and improves to a career-best 62-14 season mark.

Despite his loss in the final, Federer continued the tradition of serving up pizza to ball boys after the doubles title match ended.

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