Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel this Sunday.
I admit it. Halfway through the first set I thought “Roger Federer’s forehand took off early – and is spending the offseason in Miami.” But there were no racquet smashes in this one – and no tears at the trophy ceremony:
It was a puzzling match. Roger Federer walked onto the court smiling, seemingly relaxed. And why not? He was playing at home, at a tournament he’s won three times in a row, his last loss in Basel coming in 2003 (he didn’t play the tournament again until 2006). Djokovic is a world class opponent, but Roger owned their head-to-head 9-4, beating Nole handily in their last meeting at the US Open this summer. Novak also struggled in his semifinal match on Saturday, needing to save three match points against Radek Stepanek.
But Novak drew first blood, breaking Roger in the first set. Then the nerves kicked in for both players, with Nole needing 20+ minutes and 6 set points to eke out his final service game of the set (Roger flubbed 5 break opportunities in the game). Federer wrestled the second set away after losing his first service game of the set, only to lose the momentum by being broken immediately in the third. Roger went down 0-4 in the final set and couldn’t find a way out of the hole.
“I think the lack of opportunities was the problem today,” said Federer. “I missed too many chances throughout the match. Novak played well and make it tough for me to get chances, but when I had them he also played well.”
“Nothing is easy, believe me, against Roger,” said Djokovic. “I knew he was going to try to come back at any time. Although I was two breaks up [in the third set], he had some break points but I served well at the key moments.”
Novak is finishing the year strong, winning his second title since the US Open. It’s the perfect build up to the season-ending World Tour Finals, where he is the defending champ.
But don’t despair, Fed fans, Roger says he’s still “in the mood” to end the season well:
“We have some exciting weeks ahead of us, for all the players,” said Federer. “I won Roland Garros in the summer and now I return to Paris. Of course having won Wimbledon, I will return to London. It will be interesting to see how the crowds will be, as I have never gone back to Paris as the Roland Garros champion. I am feeling well and mentally fresh. I am in the mood to do well there.“
I’m in the mood, too, Roger!
Both Federer and Djokovic will be playing in the Paris Masters this coming week. Federer and Murray are on one half of the draw, Djokovic and Nadal are on the other side.
Quotes via ATP