ATP 500Roger FedererSwiss Indoors

Del Potro Denies Federer to Defend Basel Title

Not quite the ending to Basel we all wanted as Roger fell just that bit short losing in another 3 set encounter against Juan Martin Del Potro who successfully defended his title. Like last year it was another close one and a trademark Federer 2013 reckless service game cost him in the end firing down 3 double faults to drop serve at the start of the third set.

Putting the loss and the poor service game aside it was a very pleasing performance from Roger and one that's difficult to be too disappointed with considering the matches we've had to put up with this year on the whole. 14 aces, great intensity, good under pressure and great defense are all positives to take from this afternoon. As a fan it feels like he's finally got himself on an upward curve and got some much needed matches under his belt.

It was the first time since Rome that he's played 5 matches in a week so even that's a milestone in itself; it's been a while since we have seen Roger play a full tournament without losing early or being hampered due to back problems so Basel has been a useful platform for next year if nothing else.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Del Potro Basel 2013

Both players started this one well with Roger hitting a couple of sweet backhands down the learn early to level at 3-3. At 3-4 however a successful challenge from Del Potro got him a break point and Roger went long with the forehand to drop serve. It was always going to be interesting to see how he responded and he did so in style breaking back to love before holding to level at 5-5.

The set inevitably went into a tie break and the depth of Del Potro groundstrokes combined with a little bit of bad luck for Roger meant the Argentine took it 7 points to 3.

It was imperative that Fed made a good start to the 2nd set and he didn't let us down breaking early hitting a rapier of a cross court forehand to seal it. Del Potro had a look at 0-30 on Roger's next service game but his intensity was sky high at this point and he held to lead 3-0.

A love hold saw him move into a 4-1 lead and that soon became 5-2 with more solid serving and Roger got another break to seal the set 6-2 and level the match. It was a peRFect set from Roger really played at a really high level. It knocked the stuffing out of Del Potro I thought and was like watching the Fed of old with some of the points he put together.

I thought by winning the 2nd so convincingly he'd go onto win the match but like last year he just couldn't quite keep up his play and in his first service game he served 3 double faults to drop serve. Disappointing.

Once again Roger tried to hit back immediately, fashioning 2 break points but just couldn't capitalise and those were his last chances of the set as Del Potro maintained a level of consistency throughout before finally serving it out comfortably to win his second Basel title.

Match Stats

Stats R. Federer J. Del Potro
Aces 14 8
Double Faults 5 4
1st Serve % 60% 59%
1st Serve Points Won 46/61 (75%) 42/54 (78%)
2nd Serve Points Won 19/40 (48%) 18/37 (49%)
Break Points Saved 4/6 (67%) 3/6 (50%)
Service Games Played 15 15
1st Return Points Won 12/54 (22%) 15/61 (25%)
2nd Return Points Won 19/37 (51%) 21/40 (53%)
Break Points Won 3/6 (50%) 2/6 (33%)
Return Games Played 15 15
Total Service Points Won 65/101 (64%) 60/91 (66%)
Total Return Points Won 31/91 (34%) 36/101 (36%)
Total Points Won 96/192 (50%) 96/192 (50%)

96 points apiece. Fine margins.

Shot of the Match

Scarily good volley here under pressure, one of the worst approach shots you'll see but the control and angle he creates despite playing the shot on the service line is insane.

Thoughts on the Match

Del Potro defeats Fed in Basel

I see this one as a very positive week for Roger after the year he's had so far, of course the result wasn't the one I wanted but winning here was always going to be a pleasant surprise rather than an expectation. The main thing is he played well and looked much much sharper than we have seen recently, movement, first serve and playing well under pressure were all really good today.

Ultimately the one reckless service game cost him at the start of the third set that featured 3 double faults, if Roger had managed to hold there it could have been completely different. He let Del Potro back in the match with that break after he outplayed him in the second set so he was definitely responsible for his own downfall.

Del Potro played his part too though, he deserved to win the first set breaker as he played very consistently and once he got the break in the third set he maintained his flat and deep hitting. It's very hard to recover a break when your opponent is serving big and pinning you behind the baseline with great depth on their groundstrokes. Roger was never quite able to get the upper hand and even though he did have 2 break points to get back on serve Del Potro snuffed them out with big serving.

Along with Djokovic, Del Potro is probably the form guy right now after blitzing Nadal in Shanghai so I think Roger did well to make it such a close encounter; I think he will be disappointed with that nightmare service game but overall he has to be happy with his fitness and level of play. He certainly didn't look too downbeat during the trophy ceremony so I'm sure he sees it as a positive.

The good signs were the fact he served very well, hitting 14 aces, more than he served all week in 4 previous matches, and played well on the big points saving 4 of 6 break points and coming out of a number of 30 all type serve games on the right side of things.

I saw some fans say they were worried that the Pospisil match would have tired him out but I saw no signs of that as Roger's foot speed and movement were really good throughout, they weren't quite Dubai 2012 level which I said he'd need to play like if he wanted to win but they were pretty close. Had this been a 5 setter I'd have picked Roger all day to come through.

The final positive for me is the intensity Roger showed, he was quite vocal out there and definitely up for it which we didn't see at Wimbledon or the US Open, it was all very subdued and not very competitive. He's looking more up for the fight these days and it looks like he's on an upward curve. He has to sustain that in Paris and London but I have a good feeling he'll keep playing well indoors and that bodes well for next year.

Next Stop Paris

Paris Masters Bercy 2013

Next stop is Paris where Roger faces either Youzhny, who's just beaten Ferrer in Valenica or Anderson, I've done a full draw post here with his other seeded opponents, it's quite a tricky draw but to be expected when he's outside the top 4.

Paris hasn't always been a great tournament for him over the years but he has at least won the title there before so should have a few fond memories. It depends on the court really how his chances stack up, some years its been blistering fast but last year they slowed it right down I think so it'll be interesting to see how it plays this year. The organisers maybe hoping for a Nadal vs. Djokovic final so it could be like sandpaper if so.

I think Roger will most likely play Wednesday, live chat will of course be on for the match. See you guys then.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Congrats Brandon!
      Unbeliveble. I am actualy during a show right now. Keept refreshing the page all day long, to make first.

      Anyway sad for the loss but happy with Federers week overall.

      1. Strong era? Or your pathetic second serve that you can’t get over the net? Ain’t gonna cut it 🙂

  1. We are all so sad! That made me laugh!
    Brilliant post J! Share all your sentiments! Real upward curve of a week! Just slughtly dripped the intensity in the 3rd and Delpo served clutch on break points! lots of Fed moments to savour though! And to finish on 60% first serves is a meaningful stat. FH didn’t breakdown as often but in trying to hit deep he does tend to over hit a little and lose the top spin! He will be plsed and yes a victory after last 5 months was asking a lot. So I am not an unhappy bunny! Rests up til Wed I think and then probably Youzhny who is also on a little run! Allez Fed!
    Jonathan, you also need a break! Posting frenzy for last few days! Kudos! And thks!

    1. Yeah I think so too, definitely improving. Just these daft service games he chucks in. Struggled in quite a few but managed to deliver some aces when he needed them today which was pleasing.

      Yeah 2 days off now for me now, Paris on Wednesday I think.

  2. Oops! Dropped the intensity! Though like dripped! Can’t believe it’s Paris and then London! Will I ever stop watching tennis!! Sad but true! I am an addict! We need to form a group! Tennisholics anonymous!

  3. Even my old mum loves Roger! Sends me a txt every time he plays! She was so upset about the lucky net cord Delpo got in the breaker! Love it! Fed and his fans! Even Delpo got misty eyed over Rog in his speech! What will Fed do when it’s all over?? Can’t bear the thought? Run Basel I imagine?

    1. Yeah be a sad day for tennis. I heard he wants to buy Basel, similar to how Kraijeck runs Rotterdam I guess. Next chapter. Still at least another year left though of him playing 😛

  4. What a match, what a match. Minus that horrific blunder in the third The Fed played remarkably well and was on fire. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Throughout the match, there wasn’t a point where I questioned Roger’s fitness which means that his fitness level is finally where he wants it to be. He just needs to build on that and also his results from this week. Though, I can’t help but think of this match as been similar to his Cincy match vs. Dull where one loose service game cost him the match, HEH.

    Also Roger is one match away from qualifying for the WTF (amongst other scenarios) and he has said he wants to qualify on his own terms rather than wait for another player to lose. So here’s to another good run in Paris. Allez!

    Match rating: 4.1/5

    I̶t̶’̶s̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶I̶’̶m̶ ̶m̶o̶u̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶o̶s̶e̶ ̶3̶ ̶D̶o̶u̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶F̶a̶u̶l̶t̶s̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶

    1. Yeah third set cost him, bad bad game.

      Agreed on his fitness too, he’s looked sharp all week, moved well throughout this one too.

      He’ll qualify for sure, he can not even play Paris because only a Raonic win in Bercy and some other daft scenarios like Stan and Gasquet making the final stops him.

  5. Jonathan:

    Thanks for your very quick and excellent post. Realistically, this was the best match one could have wished for from , 2013. From 2004 to about 2011, I watched Federer matches without any tension until he played Nadal; even if he was down a set, I knew he would win. This year, after the Australian Open, till the last couple of matches, I stopped watching matches mid-way, because it hurt too much. I almost thought that I would have start watching my 30 plus Fed match DVDs, starting from the Sampras match to the 2012 Wimbledon! This week, especially today’s match, gives me hope that I will still enjoy watching the live matches, and keep the DVDs away for some time!

    I really think that Federer played well, and if it had not been for that terrible net cord (déjà vu from yesterday) serving at 0-1 down in the tie break, may be things might have been different. The backhands were great, returns were much better, 10 aces, not many shanks. The intensity level was like at the 2007 Wimbledon final against Nadal, a wonderful sight. I pray his back holds, and he will be back in business!

    Keep the posts coming!!

    1. Thanks Raja,

      Haha that bad huh? I don’t think you can get a worse loss than Australian Open 2009 so I’ll be sticking it out no matter what happens. Won’t be fun if he starts losing to clowns every tournament but we’ll see. I think he has something left yet anyway.

      Net cord was unlucky, but I think Del Potro was hitting a winner there anyway, the breaker kind of just got away from him and I think Del Potro deserved to win that, he hit with consistency and depth on everything.

      Match was lost in the third, Prime Fed would be flying after winning that 2nd set but handed over the break too easy. But he’s improving, easily best tournament in a while.


  6. Thanks for the match report, pics etc. Jonathan. I agree with everything you and others say. Definitely on the up and up, and I hope he sees it that way. Great improvement in first serve which makes a huge difference, and very few errors. I did think his momentum slipped away from him a bit in the third set after the disastrous service game (we seem to have one of those in every match), but it is difficult to break back someone like Delpo when he’s not making mistakes. Watching the ceremony I think Roger was quite upset but just hid it very well. I have a feeling he really thought he could win this one and was a little disappointed in himself. Just as well I suppose.

    Delpo had the net on his side, and also the mental toughness to see it out where he just edged Roger. Other than that it was a very equal match, which was not what I was expecting. I was expecting Delpo to win more easily because I was expecting Roger to make more mistakes than he did. Very, very pleased with his performance and I hope he is too. Delpo is a lovely man. He was quite emotional at the ceremony and said he was proud to be able to play in Roger’s era – and he looked as though he meant it.

    I’m now a bit worried about Roger’s qualification for the finals. I know he only has to win one more match to be sure, buy Youzhny is a tough one I think and he’s been doing well recently. I hope Roger’s confidence doesn’t slip again after today. Allez Roger!

    1. Thanks Rita,

      Not sure he was upset, but I know he was definitely up for the fight today, wanted to win for sure but just couldn’t get it done. Too many double faults.

      I wouldn’t worry about London, he qualified as long as Raonic doesn’t win Bercy and he doesn’t lose in the first round.

      Youzhny is playing well after winning Valencia, but he’s not certain to be Anderchoke and Fed has never lost to him either.


      1. Yes, having watched the ceremony and standing ovation I think you’re right. Roger was moved by the whole thing rather than upset. Bit of a mother hen me 🙁

        I’m relieved because I thought Roger’s qualification depended on winning his first match at Bercy but I see it only depends on Raonic not winning the title, and although miracles can happen I think we’re fairly safe.

  7. Mixed feelings here. Happy for Roger that he put together a good tournament. Sad that he fell short. With no Annacone he seems to be freer somehow.
    The very best part was the ovation Roger got from the fans at the ceremony. You could really feel the love and admiration his fans in Switzerland have for him. Just imagine the roar from the crowd when he retires. I hope that day is a way off. Pass the tissues.

  8. Whatever happened to the W/UE stats? I checked on ATP’s website and it’s like they’ve vanished :confused:

    1. They don’t show it for ATP500 matches. According to the commentators, for Fed it was 36/23 and Delpo 30/11. I think the very few errors that came from Delpo’s racquet made the real difference. I was also a bit surprised that despite being punished by Delpo’s return on his slider serve at the corner in the duce court, Fed tried the same direction when 40-15 up may a times. I hardy remember Delpo returning any of the first serves in the duce court that was down the T. Fed got most of his aces serving down the T at the duce court. I hope if Fed eventually meets Delpo in the quarters of Paris, he will keep that in mind.

      1. Thanks Jonathan. Some of the spectators who were actually present at the Swiss indoors commented in some other forums that they have never seen Fed so fired up before. After every miss, he used to utter something in Swiss German urging himself. Hopefully this will continue for the next two tourneys of 2013 and he will carry it over to 2014.

  9. All credit to Delpo: he’s on fire these days 😀 Jonathan, was it you who said he would slump this season? 😉

    Anyway, back to our man: Finally the tennis I want to see from him! I agree with everything you said, good movement, I thought his forhand and serve were pretty damn good and the backhand was holding up well. Even the return 😀 Too bad for that game in the third set… Makes us go from “f*ck yes he’s got this!!” to “I wanna die……”

    Bring on Paris rematch 😀

    1. Well to be fair Australian Open – loss to Chardy, French Open – no show, Wimbledon – Semi Finals, US Open – loss to Hewitt. Slam wise that’s pretty poor.

      He’s an ATP 500 specialist this guy.

      As for Fed I’m happy too, just gotta tighten up those service games and not get broken easily.

  10. Determined play by Roger this week – he’s definitely on an upward curve.

    One correction – Del Potro didn’t hold his final service game in the 3rd set to love. He brought up 3 match points but Roger saved the first one.

    1. Yeah he looked focused for sure. Need to see his presser.

      And cheers for the correction, blazed a forehand into the tramlines I remember now, irrelevant but good spot 😛


  11. Oh man would’ve loved to have watched this one in live chat with the rest of you, Europe timing though and Australia don’t mix well together unfortunately so I always am catching up on his matches. But wow what a match and what a week for Roger! Fed went into this one as the underdog and it made him play a bit freed up in a way, maybe Sue is right in saying no coach has helped Fed in that department a bit more.

    Once again, the indoor season is saving Roger’s ass this season. Yes he didn’t get the title but his footwork and fitness/movement, all those elements of his game have been rebuilt slowly and if you asked me last week if he could take on Del Potro I’d say probably not. Let’s not forget he hasn’t beaten a top 10 player since the AO so I think of course it was a big test for him- one that the third set service break cost him. But in hindsight Delpo was the more consistent player and deserved to win the title, I am a huge fan of Juan Martin so I can’t be too disappointed. Next stop Paris indeed, can that even be counted as an indoor court anymore? I have my suspicions. Would love another FedPotro rematch and this time I think Fed can pull it out. Allez!

      1. Well, if Alysha cannot, I’ll do moderation for AO. Watch out folks, there will a new Sheriff in town soon 😉

      2. I’d love to Jonathan but I’m actually going to be at the AO next year so it might be a bit tricky. Sid will have to be the new sheriff as he says, I’ll be deputy.

  12. Hey guys, Roger may have lost the final, but Delpo did not get this win as a gift. Roger made him work hard for it. Too bad he could not hold on to his first game in the third and too bad he could not break Delpo back in the next game, but that is nothing new right? And there is also no shame in losing to Delpo. He has defeated Novak, Rafa and Andy this year, so Roger losing to him, well Delpo is a great player.
    I really like him a lot, but I hope he mans up a bit. I am really getting fed up of him acting like an old man between points (not when he is playing the points, but in between them).
    And as for Roger… well, he is not roling over, he is fighting. Is unfortunately coming short, but things will only improve. I also get really tired of the comments on Roger’s own site saying that he will never win a GS, 1000 tour or 500 tour. Why can’t they see that he is “slowly really slowly” rising again???

      1. Haha, my New York days are long behind me now.

        And why do you feel sad for Roger and his team? Don’t worry about McEnroe, the guy has nothing better to do than envy what he couldn’t achieve in his own career. Roger of course is going to overtake him but 95 titles? If he’s only winning one title per year after this season it’s gonna take him another 20 years on tour to get there lol but I like your optimism.

      2. Katyani, it’s not what you did, it’s what you didn’t do that surprised me 😉

      3. “Katyani, it’s not what you did, it’s what you didn’t do that surprised me” 😉

        Hey Sid, you lost me here…… I don’t get it.
        If you mean that I did not write a long comment… well I promised you I would not do that.
        Or did you mean something else?? Please tell me, my brain is not working right now…
        I think Roger already got over his Basel loss, but I did not….yet….

        Ps: Sid, just one more time, how again do you get a smileyface???

      4. Now Alysha, don’t think I am just saying a number… He can get to 95 you know !!!
        I have that much faith in him. And look at last year. He had 6 titles if I am not wrong.
        He could just win three years 6 titles and he already is there and beated Lendl who has 94 right. It can be done Alysha. Roger is that good !!!

        I know he is not going to quit before 2016.
        You know what it is with Roger. He is a stubborn man. If you tell him to go left and he knows it is the right thing to do, he will go on purpose to the right just to show you that he can and that he does not listen to you. The more you tell him to retire, the more he will show you that he won’t retire. When he is playing amazing and no one is talking about his retirement, that is when he drops a bomb and will announce that he is retiring. That is the kind of man that Roger is. Too many persons are talking about his retirement now. Just to spite them, he will go on…

        And the way he is playing Alysha…. Oh my God, who of those two was 25 and 32?? Roger played not like a 32 year old man…

        No, good times are coming. Roger is different now. Ru-an wrote a very nice article about how he sees that too and I agree totally. This is a new Roger we are seeying. A warrior.
        Who will get to 95 titles !!!

      5. Katyani, you got it finally when you said, “If you mean that I did not write a long comment”. How do I get a smiley face? When Roger wins a title.

      6. You’re right, Lendl has 94 titles. But Connors has 109.

        The only player who can beat that would be Rafael Nadal. I’m estimating he will get it done by the year 2021. Nadal will be just 35 years old then. The courts will have become much slower, so slow, that slow motion replays will be replaced by fast motion in the interest of saving time. Television ads will be shown once a point starts to generate additional revenue; “We now interrupt this commercial because it looks like the rally between Nadal and Djokovic is about to end”. His racquet size would’ve increased to 110 sq in. His knee problems will be completely gone as he would be using ATP approved stronger and faster bionic legs, thanks to the Spanish doctor and Nobel laureate Dementio Fuentes. His arms will be huge, bigger than Popeye’s after he has gobbled a can of spinach. The ATP will have added a mandatory 5 seconds between service points to allow for tugging his rear. In fact it will become a pre-serve routine for young kids. And, the US Open would be played on Har-Tru. Yes, get ready, times they are about to change.

      7. Hey Sid, you got a smile out of me when I read your comment !!! How do you come up with these little stories??? You have to be a writer or someone who writes for comedyshows !!! That was so funny.
        No, overtaking Connors 109 is not humanly possible. Not even for our Goat or that dishonest unfair Rafa and his great Uncle Toni. But… 95 is reachable. FOR ROGER. No one else. You guys are laughing at me, but… don’t underestimate our Goat…
        And about that Rafa. No way. Roger is rising from now, which means Rafa has to fall.
        Isn’t he tired?? That was the reason why he skipped Basel.
        No, next year will NOT be Rafa’s year. Trust me, it will be Roger’s. Afterall he has to gain so many points and Rafa has to defend 30.000 points. So no, welcome to the Roger-time.

      1. Hey Alysha (or as Jonathan calls you Alysha Wintour !!!),

        I feel bad for Roger….. sad for Roger, Mirka, Severin and his parents and…..

        I am mad at Mac Enroe… He really put a spell on Roger not to overtake his 77th.
        I think he cursed Roger…. But Roger and us the fans will have the last laugh.
        You heard it first from me, Roger will have atleast 95 titles….

  13. Folks, to all those who were on chat for this match, I want to apologize for the expletive I threw at Juan Martin, in case you saw it. I was just frustrated with you know, those double faults, that’s all.

  14. Oh my! Just watched the whole standing ovation to Roger on YouTube! Nearly 4 mins! Feel the love! Made me cry! Roger looked overwhelmed! Loved Delpo clapping throughout! Great moment!

    1. And when Delpo said he felt honoured to be able to play in the same era as Roger he looked as though he really meant it.

      1. Yeah! And check this also from Delpo after the match: “I think Roger is playing well. He played much better when he has the chance to play the top guys. His game improves automatically and looking forward to Paris and London he will be a tough opponent. For me he has the perfect game… and he is a big inspiration. I am very proud to have a good relationship with him, as I have learned a lot as a person and a tennis player.”

        I just can’t hate the guy, even when he beats Roger…

  15. Yes, I like to see the W/UE s too. Will someone please tell me where to find the interviews from the matches? Where on the atp site?

    1. Thanks Scooter, that’s a really good interview. More in-depth than we usually get a chance to see. A lot of interesting insights and with a full interview like that you can see the nuances that you don’t get when you just have a shortened version or quotes. I get so fed up with people calling him arrogant when he is quoted out of context or you don’t get to see his facial expressions and mannerisms, which make such a difference to understanding him. Interesting that he says his injuries this year have probably made him hesitant playing.

    2. Very cool interview! Love that Roger is such a geek! He is actually quite uncool and I mean that in a positive way unlike Novak who wants to be seen as hip and on trend! Fed is just a throw back! So honest and good questions, didn’t shy away from the tough ones! He clearly loves a good cry! His retirement year is just going to be one long tearfest!

      1. That’s why we coined Dokerer did we not Susie? He’s just very down to earth and doesn’t try to pretend to be something he’s not. I am a bit surprised though that he flat out admitted that he pretty much gave up when Robredo served for the match. That’s not what you want to hear. Also pleased he didn’t hide the fact that the back hindered him this season and said that mistakes were made. After all this time, Roger is still learning which is good to see.

    3. If Roger eats Lamb’s lettuce, what does the poor lamb get to eat? 🙂

      Awesome interview! Vielen dank for posting the link, Scooter!

  16. What a great match and the incredible ovation at the ceremony, wow.

    Okay, shame that one terrible service game in the decider cost him a win, but hey I am proud of him. Many positive signs were there, movements/defence, first serve, and pleased to see his guts. Look forward to his next match in Paris.

    Well done for the Basel week, Jonathan, you need a short break now but keep at your great job!

  17. One his best matches this year, too bad about the result but i think there are lot of positives here. He was a bit unlucky with the netcord. Result might be different if Roger won’t the 1st set. The standing O is amazing. I hope Roger can go deep at Bercy.

  18. Thanks for the interview, Scooter. He knows what he needs to do. Instinctively we protect the parts of our body that has been injured. It’s very difficult to move in the same way.

  19. Kudos for the optimism J.
    I am very disappointed for Fed. he should have won. he has to beat a top 10 player to boost the dwindling confidence… It looks to me as if Fed forgot how to win matches. the tennis is still there, but where’s the killer instinct, the desire? this loss was his own undoing… like many of his losses this year.
    I hope for a good tournament in Paris. something’s gotta give. I hate to see him fading away like that. maybe he needs to re-commit to tennis. or something.

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