The Swiss superstar won his eighth Basel title on Sunday, battling back to defeat the surging Juan Martin del Potro, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 to clinch his ATP World Tour-leading seventh title of the year.
The 36-year-old also kept alive the battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking, pulling to within 1,460 points of Rafael Nadal with the final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year in Paris and the Nitto ATP Finals still to go. Federer can capture a combined 2,500 points at those two events.
It appeared that the Swiss may fall short in his 13th Basel final when del Potro broke immediately in the third set to snuff Federer’s momentum and gain the lead in the decider But the now 95-time tour-level titlist broke the Argentine twice in a row to turn the match around. Serving for the tournament, Federer missed out on his first championship point with a forehand error, but hit a crisp serve wide in the deuce court that del Potro couldn’t handle, sending his hometown crowd into a frenzy as he threw both arms in the air.
For del Potro, Sunday’s loss was disappointing, but he has continued to play excellent tennis since sitting in 47th in the Emirates ATP Race To London before the US Open. The Argentine has used semi-final results in Flushing Meadows and Shanghai, last week’s title in Stockholm and his run to the Basel final to pull to within 190 points of Pablo Carreno Busta, who occupies the final London qualifying spot with one week remaining.
Federer extended his lead in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry to 18-6, capturing his fifth win in their past six matches.