Federer to meet del Potro for Basel crown
Basel, Switzerland – Roger Federer surely won't have it easy in an attempt to win the title in his hometown for a third straight year and sixth time overall.
Federer was a straight-set winner Saturday in the semifinals of the Swiss Indoors and will meet Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday's final after the Argentine star also advanced in straight sets.
Del Potro was first on the court Saturday and dispatched third-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet in 6-2, 6-2 fashion before Federer claimed a 7-5, 6-4 triumph over another Frenchman in Paul-Henri Mathieu.
The top-seeded Federer won his hometown crown from 2006-08 and again the past two years. He beat Japan's Kei Nishikori last year after topping Novak Djokovic in 2010. Another former major champion awaits Sunday in del Potro.
Seeded second this week, the 2009 U.S. Open champ is coming off a title last weekend in Vienna. He also won tournaments in Marseille and Estoril earlier this year, while losing another final in Rotterdam.
The setback in Rotterdam came against Federer, one of six losses del Potro has suffered this year alone against the 17-time Grand Slam champ. Federer also prevailed in quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and the French Open, as well as semifinals at Dubai and the Olympics.
In fact, Federer owns a 13-2 lifetime mark against del Potro and has a seven- match winning streak in the series dating back to 2009, when del Potro picked up his only two wins. He stunned Federer in the U.S. Open title match that summer, then came away with a round-robin win in the ATP World Tour Finals a few months later.
The two also met once previously in Basel, back in 2007 when Federer notched a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the round of 16.
Federer, also a three-time runner-up in his home tournament, has 76 career titles and on Sunday will try for his seventh of 2012. In addition to Rotterdam, the current world No. 1 also won in Dubai, Indian Wells, Madrid, Wimbledon and Cincinnati. His two title match losses this year came in Halle and the Olympics.
Del Potro, meanwhile, owns a 12-5 mark all-time in finals.
Both players had relatively simple matches Saturday.
Del Potro needed a mere 67 minutes to dispose of Gasquet, breaking serve five times en route to his eighth straight match win. He also beat Gasquet earlier this year for the title in Estoril.
Federer broke Mathieu twice and didn't have his serve threatened in the nearly 90-minute match Saturday. He finally broke the French wild card entry for a 6-5 lead in the first set, then picked up his second break for a 3-2 edge in the second.
Sunday's winner will collect a first prize of $440,000.