Federer defeats Karlovic to reach 11th Basel final

Roger Federer fought off an ace assault from a dogged Ivo Karlovic to reach his 11th Swiss Indoors Basel final, prevailing 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-3 on Saturday.

The hometown hero extended his win streak to 11 straight as he continued his push to conclude the season as year-end World No. 1. If he wins the title, Federer will be less than 500 points behind Novak Djokovic in the ATP Race To London, with 1,000 points awaiting the champion of next week's BNP Paribas Masters. The five-time Basel champion will contest his 123rd title match on the ATP World Tour against Belgian rising star David Goffin.

Federer overcame 33 aces from the big-serving Croat to claim victory after one hour and 42 minutes, winning 80 per cent of points on his own serve. The 33 year old staved off a pair of set points in a grueling 18-point first set tie-break and would eventually secure the opener after rifling a backhand passing shot, one of his 40 winners on the day.

In the second set, Karlovic fired four straight aces for a 4-3 lead and immediately proceeded to break Federer in the next game. He had previously failed to convert on a break point (0/9) in their last seven meetings, dating back to 2007. The Zagreb native would force a decider, but Federer held his nerve, breaking in the fourth game of the third set and holding on for the victory.

"I'm relieved, always in a match like this against someone who can serve as big as Ivo," Federer said. "It was a good feeling get out of it as the winner. I thought it was impressive how big he served. I didn't expect the break in the third set, so I was happy to get that and bring it home.

"I never thought I would be this successful at this tournament. I'm hoping to enjoy the final and that the crowd will be as good as it was today. It would mean the world to me to win in Basel. It's going to be an exciting but a tough match."

Karlovic was bidding to reach his 13th final on the ATP World Tour and fifth of the year. He currently sits 10 aces shy of 9,000 for his career and will look to join countryman Goran Ivanisevic and Andy Roddick as the only men to achieve the feat, at the BNP Paribas Masters next week.

The lone previous meeting between Federer and Goffin came in the 2012 Roland Garros fourth round. The Swiss stormed back from a set down to prevail in four tight sets.

Date: 25th October 2014, Source: ATP


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