Roger Federer took a big step toward securing his endangered place in the ATP World Tour Finals by overcoming rising Canadian talent Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 in the Basel Open semi-finals on Saturday.
The Swiss star next faces top seed Juan Martin del Potro, who has already qualified for next month’s London tournament, in the final after the Argentine battled past unseeded Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
“Hopefully, I can get my revenge on him, but you know on the top of it I am playing for the World Tour Finals,” said Federer, who lost to Del Potro in last year’s Basel title match. “You know things are looking good. I am not qualified yet [for London], but that is not really in the back of my mind. I am just really focused on playing good finals tomorrow [Sunday].”
Third seed Federer needed to survive another mid-match dip in form and a determined challenge from his big-hitting opponent to earn the chance to win his sixth title in his hometown tournament and guarantee qualification for the season-ender.
Backed by a noisy partisan crowd, he negotiated the first set comfortably, breaking the 23-year-old Pospisil’s serve twice, but the lanky Canadian, who reached a career-high 39th in the world after a fine midyear run, served more freely in the second set and found the corners with some explosive cross-court ground strokes.
Pospisil looked to have the idol of his junior tennis days on the ropes when he broke serve for the second time in the match in the fourth game of the final set, but 32-year-old Federer brought his experience to bear, coming up with big shots on crucial points to break twice and clinch victory with an unreturnable serve down the middle.
Federer has qualified for the ATP Tour Finals every year since 2002, winning it six times.
AP, VALENCIA, Spain
Defending champion David Ferrer beat former winner Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the Valencia Open final on Saturday.
Ferrer faces Mikhail Youzhny in the final after he defeated Dmitry Tursunov 6-2, 6-4 in an all-Russian semi-final.
“Youzhny is a good player,” Ferrer said. “He has a good backhand and also slices the ball very well. It will be a close final.”