Tennis: Nine-time champion, Federer into 15th Swiss final


Switzerland (AFP) – Roger Federer extended his Swiss Indoors win
streak to 23 matches as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 on
Saturday (Oct 26) to reach the final for the 15th time, racking up his
50th win of 2019.
The top seed will be playing for his 10th title at his home tournament
when he faces Alex de Minaur in a first-time meeting after the
Australian stopped Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3).
Federer, 38, has now made the Basel final in his last 13 appearances
and 15th overall.
His last defeat came in the 2013 final at the hands of Juan Martin del Potro.
For Federer, victory on Saturday was his second of the season over
21-year-old Tsitsipas who had stunned the 20-time major winner at the
Australian Open in January.
Federer, who had a walkover in the quarter-finals due to the pre-match
injury withdrawal of compatriot Stan Wawrinka, notched up two love
games in the second set and advanced on his first match point.
“Having the crowd behind you really helps you believe in your game,”
said Federer who had also defeated Tsitsipas in Dubai earlier this
“I had to play aggressive and take risks against Stefanos. There was a
lot of running. But it’s always easier to play at home, I was
Federer will be in uncharted territory in the final with De Minaur,
who has won trophies this season in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai.
“He’s one of the fastest players,” Federer said.
“I’m very excited to be in the final again.
“I was not sure how it would go this week, so I’m really happy.”
The 28th-ranked De Minaur, who trains and lives in Spain, is the first
Australian to reach the Basel final since Mark Philippoussis finished
runner-up in 1997.
De Minaur, who measures up at 1.8m compared to Opelka’s towering
2.11m, set up his semi-final victory with a passing winner for four
match points.
Opelka saved the first with an ace but was caught out on the second as
his opponent sealed the win.
“Nothing can prepare you for that serve,” de Minaur said.
“Reilly’s an incredibly tough competitor who never gives up. I’m just
happy to be in the final. I guessed right a few times and got lucky. I
was just lucky to have gone the right direction, I was just hoping not
be hit by any of those serves.”

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