Basel Flashback: Roger Federer restores the order

Roger Federer missed the hometown ATP event in Basel in 2004 and 2005. He returned in style in 2006 as world no. 1 and kicked off his domination. The home favorite was a player to beat in Basel until 2011, winning five titles and losing the final to Novak Djokovic in 2009. Roger stood on five titles ahead of 2012 and 2013 when Juan Martin del Potro toppled him in tight finals to hold the trophy for two years. That all changed in 2014 when the Swiss regained his Basel throne. He used a favorable draw and scored five triumphs for his sixth hometown title. Roger needed 46 minutes to dismiss Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-1 in the first round, dropping four points on serve and delivering four breaks for a strong start. Denis Istomin won the opening set against Federer in the second round before the Swiss shifted into a higher gear. Roger seized only two out of 12 break chances but did enough to deliver a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory and move into the Basel quarter-final for the ninth time in a row.

There, he took down world no. 11 Grigor Dimitrov 7-6, 6-2, fending off four break chances and stealing the opponent’s serve twice in the second set to stay on the title course. The Croat Ivo Karlovic gave his best against Federer in the semi-final, battling for an hour and 42 minutes before the Swiss prevailed 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 and reached the final. Roger scored a single break in the final set and moved into the ninth consecutive Basel final and the 11th overall! Federer dismissed David Goffin 6-2, 6-2 in 52 minutes in the title match for his sixth Basel crown, dominating from start to finish to lift the trophy in style. It was their second meeting after the 2012 Roland Garros clash, and the Belgian stood no chance against such a strong opponent. Federer dropped only five points behind the initial shot and stole half of the return points to earn four breaks from six opportunities and control the scoreboard. Roger had more winners and fewer unforced errors.

Roger Federer defeated David Goffin in the 2014 Basel final.

He forced more mistakes from Goffin, who could not find a way to impose his groundstrokes and take power off Roger’s strokes. The Swiss had a massive advantage in the shortest points up to four shots. He used every opportunity to attack and unfold the encounter by his rules, having the upper hand in the more advanced rallies and sealing the deal in no time. Roger broke in the encounter’s first game and held at 15 with a service winner to confirm the advantage and move 2-0 up. Another unreturned serve delivered a hold at love for Federer in game four.

He landed three more direct points at 3-2 and broke David at 15 in the next one to extend the lead and serve for the set at 5-2. Another service winner from Roger closed the opening set after just 24 minutes, with the Swiss dominating every segment against the rival who barely served at 40%. Continuing where he left in the opener, Federer fired four winners in the second set’s second game and rattled off five straight games from 2-1 down to sprint over the finish line. Goffin got broken in the fifth game after a more extended rally and again at 2-4 thanks to Federer’s forehand down the line return winner. The Swiss sealed the deal with a hold at 15 in game eight to celebrate his first Basel title in three years.