Federer suffers another Basel loss to Del Potro
By Brian Homewood ,ReutersBASEL -- Roger Federer's difficult season continued on Sunday when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the Basel Open for the second year running.
October 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
The Swiss played some of his best tennis this year but it was not enough to avoid a 7-6 (3) 2-6 6-4 defeat against the powerful Argentine and his 220-kph serve.
After Del Potro took the first set, the momentum seemed to swing Federer's way when he raced through the second after breaking serve in the second game.
But the turning point came in the first game of the third set when Federer, who has managed only one win against a top-10 opponent and one tournament win all year, was broken after leading 40-15.
Del Potro hit a stunning return on his way to break point and, although the Swiss saved one point with an amazing backhand overhead smash, Del Potro took the game when Federer overhit a forehand.
Del Potro went on to take the set and win his fourth ATP title of the season after Tokyo, Washington and Rotterdam.
Federer would have qualified for the season-ending World Tour Finals if he had won, although he should still book his place there at next week's Paris Masters.
A win over Kevin Anderson or Mikhail Youzhny in his second round match on Wednesday will be enough to ensure he reaches the season finale for a record-equaling 12th consecutive year, tying with Ivan Lendl for most successive appearances.
Federer, whose season has been peppered with embarrassing defeats to lower-ranked opponents, was happy with Sunday's performance, where he interspersed some stunning winners with unforced errors including five double faults.
Yet he could not take comfort from the result.
“I am a winner, I don't take much confidence from losing matches,” he told reporters. “I am happy about the level of my play, it's getting better but it's not in losing where I get much confidence.”
Del Potro admitted he lost his way in the second set before recovering.
“I made a lot of mistakes and you can't afford to relax in a final,” he said.
“My big challenge is to get closer to the top four players and the only way to do that is when you have a chance to play against them.”