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Federer regains hometown crown

Federer's raised his arms in victory a few times before - and now four times in Basel Keystone

Roger Federer has defeated world number three, Novak Djokovic, in the final of the Swiss Indoors 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Federer’s fourth Basel title gave him some revenge after having lost to Djokovic in the semifinal of the 2010 US Open.

The Swiss also avenged last year’s defeat when Djokovic beat him in the final to interrupt his run of wins at the Basel tournament.

Both men showed how evenly matched they were in the first two games.

With the Serb serving at the start of the first set, Federer had a couple of break points that he was unable to cash in on, allowing Djokovic to recover and prevent an early break.

And then it was Federer with his first serve who found himself having to fight back to prevent giving his opponent a decisive advantage.

But it was the Swiss star who went on the offensive in the third game with some strong forehand shots, and managed the break to go up 2-1.

The middle of the first set saw two more breaks – one for each player – and Federer held his final serves to win the first set.

Djokovic strikes back

It did not take long for Djokovic to strike back, breaking Federer’s first serve, and quickly going up 3-0.

Federer held his serve after that, but so did Djokovic, who took the second set 6-3, setting the stage for the third and final round.

The Swiss ace was the first to break serve in the decisive set. Up 4-1, Federer broke Djokovic again, thanks to a series of unforced errors by the Serb.

Federer left no doubt in the final game, refusing to let his opponent to take a single point.

“I’ve played really well all week long,” said world number two Federer who did not drop a set on the way to the final.

Highs and lows

By Federer’s standards 2010 has been a year of highs and lows. At the Australian Open he earned his 16th major title – the most by any player in the open era – yet he failed to reach the finals in the other three Grand Slam tournaments.

With his win in Basel, he has now moved ahead of Pete Sampras with 65 career singles titles. Ahead of him are John McEnroe (77), Ivan Lendl (94) and Jimmy Connors (109).

The Swiss star is on course to finish in the top two for a record eighth consecutive year.

Comparing incomparables rarely gets very far – who’s better: Pelé or Maradona? Fangio or Schumacher? Thin Elvis or fat Elvis? – and advances in technology make comparisons in tennis particularly futile, but that hasn’t stopped most top players chipping in:

“He’s the most gifted player I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ve seen a lot of people play. I’ve seen the Lavers, I played against some of the great players – the Samprases, Beckers, Connors, Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time.”
John McEnroe

“We have a guy from Switzerland who is just playing the game a way I haven’t seen anyone – and I mean anyone – play before. He is the kind of guy who can overtake the greatest.”
Boris Becker

“He’s the best I’ve ever played against. There’s nowhere to go. Anything you try to do, he potentially has an answer for.”
Andre Agassi

“[In the modern game], you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist – or you’re Roger Federer.”
Jimmy Connors

“Federer is the best player in history. No other player has ever had such quality.”
Rafael Nadal

“I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger. He is such an unbelievable talent and capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time.”
Rod Laver

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR