ATP

Federer breezes to 10th Swiss Indoors Basel crown

By Sports Desk October 27, 2019

Roger Federer delighted an adoring home crowd by beating Alex de Minaur 6-2 6-2 to claim a 10th Swiss Indoors Basel title.

The Australian youngster proved no match for Federer, 38, who made his home event the joint-most prolific of his career alongside the Halle Open.

De Minaur was looking for his fourth Tour title of the season but faced an unenviable task when Federer smashed an overhead to break for 3-1 in the opener.

A loose service game from the 20-year-old allowed Federer to wrap up the first in 35 minutes and the writing was clearly on the wall when De Minaur slumped to 0-40 in the second game of set two.

He saved two break points but had no answer to a Federer forehand pass, with the end coming when De Minaur served unsuccessfully to stay in the match at 2-5 down.

Federer joins Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev on four Tour titles this season, on the day Dominic Thiem collected his fifth in Vienna.

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    Roger Federer conceded he had let chances slip through his fingers and made "pretty bad" mistakes as he crashed out of the ATP Finals with defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    The Swiss star went down 6-3 6-4 in London, taking only one of his 12 break-point opportunities to lose the semi-final in straight sets just two days on from a near-faultless victory over Novak Djokovic.

    It means he ends the year having not won any of the four grand slams or the season-ending event, with Sunday's final to be contested by Dominic Thiem and Tsitsipas.

    Federer turns 39 in 2020 but, as he reflected on a year that saw him squander two championship points against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, he is optimistic he will have plenty more opportunities to win top tournaments.

    "No doubt I had my chances," Federer – who hit 26 unforced errors including two wayward smashes in his opening service game – said after his defeat, which leaves him without an ATP Finals title since 2011. 

    "The break points were part of it. I had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad.

    "Getting broken and missing two smashes in one game – that hasn't happened in a long, long time or ever, so that was tough.

    "At this level, you just can't have it happen, so that was pretty disappointing."

    Of his 2020 hopes, Federer said: "I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year and then I will create some chances. 

    "[I have] Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team and get the balance right with everything that's happening in my life."

    Federer had produced a fine display to see off Djokovic in the round-robin stage but conceded he cannot afford to let his level drop when big matches and important moments arrive in quick succession.

    He added: "When the matches come, it's not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago, where you're just going to play very good day in, day out. 

    "Maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen. Maybe that's what it felt like, just things were complicated. 

    "But I've got to maybe do even a better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there. They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells [in a final defeat to Thiem] or Wimbledon.

    "That can change an entire season around, the confidence, the flow of things."

    Federer retained an optimistic outlook going into another season on the ATP Tour, adding: "I'm happy [with] how I played this season. I thought I played some consistent, solid tennis and I'm extremely excited for next season."

  • Thiem dethrones Zverev to set up Tsitsipas final Thiem dethrones Zverev to set up Tsitsipas final

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    Thiem beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to reach the last four of the season-ending tournament for the first time and dispatched Zverev 7-5 6-3 at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.

    Zverev was unable to break the fifth seed, who was more composed than the defending champion and broke once in each set to set up a showdown with Tsitsipas - conqueror of Federer earlier in the day.

    Thiem has won five titles in a stellar season and the two-time French Open runner-up will claim the biggest of his career if he gets the better of Tsitsipas on Sunday, having struck 21 winners in his sixth victory in eight meetings with Zverev.

    The first break point came for Zverev, but Thiem denied his close friend to level at 2-2 after unleashing one of a number of blistering backhands.

    Zverev saw another break point pass him by and it was his opponent - wearing exactly the same attire - who got the decisive break of a tight opening set. 

    A couple of sloppy errors from Zverev gave Thiem two set points and the German thrashed his racket into the ground after returning to his chair following a costly double fault.

    Zverev headed off court after watching his racket fly up in the air when he drilled it against the hard court in fury and the seventh seed was a break down at 4-2 in the second following a string of unforced errors.

    Thiem got himself out of trouble when Zverev forced two break points in the next game and sealed victory with a forehand winner.

  • Berdych confirms retirement Berdych confirms retirement

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    The former world number four was expected to quit after posting a video on Twitter stating he had an announcement to make at the ATP Finals in London on Saturday.

    Berdych's post came after a Czech tabloid Blesk reported on Wednesday that he will officially bring the curtain down on his career this weekend.

    The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, beaten by Rafael Nadal in his only grand slam final, has now brought his playing days to an end after 17 years on the ATP Tour.

    Berdych has not played since losing to Jenson Brooksby in the first round of the US Open, having been blighted by a back injury.

    The 13-time ATP Tour singles champion missed the last five months of the 2018 season and was only able to play 22 matches this year.

    Berdych's career was recognised during a ceremony at the O2 Arena on Saturday, where he said: "The feeling I went through in my last official match was one that told me I tried absolutely everything, but the end result is how it is.

    "The level I was always chasing, the top results, being in the top positions [of the ATP Rankings]… My body doesn't allow me to do so.

    "I always look at situations very realistically. I was standing with my feet on my ground. When I made my decision with myself and [loved ones], I felt a big relief."

     

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