Six time Basel champion Roger Federer of Switzerland set up a mouth watering and eagerly anticipated clash against arch rival Rafael Nadal of Spain as both posted impressive wins against the American Jack Sock and Frenchman Richard Gasquet at the Swiss Indoor event in Basel. It would be the 34th matchup between the duo with Rafael Nadal holding the psychological upper hand with a 23-10 head to head record. The last time they met was 21 months ago in the semifinal of the Australian Open 2014 in Melbourne; with Nadal winning in straight sets.
Federer who has won five titles this year in Brisbane (d. Raonic), Dubai (d. Djokovic), Istanbul (d. Cuevas), Halle (d. Seppi) and in Cincinnati (d. Djokovic) only faltered, briefly , when serving for the match at 5–2 in the second set. He would finally triumph in 64 minutes against the 29th ranked Sock; the first American since Andy Roddick in 2010 to reach the semifinal of this ATP 500 event. The eventual scoreline was 6-3,6-4.
It will be his 12th final at this event and his tenth in a row having played in 2000-01 and 2006-15. He thus becomes the only player to contest 10 finals in a row at a tournament. Ivan Lendl contested nine straight finals at the season ending finale ( formerly Tennis Masters Cup ) and Nadal contested nine straight finals at the Monte Carlo Masters from 2005-13. He is the only player to have reached at least 10 finals at an event having done so also on the grass courts of Halle and Wimbledon. Federer has a 57-9 record in 2015 and is now 60-9 at this event.
The third seeded Nadal will contest his first final in Basel after he recorded his 14th consecutive win over Richard Gasquet 6-4,7-6(7) in the first semifinal lasting 2 hours and 5 minutes as the Frenchman failed to capitalize on his chances. The loss eliminated Gasquet from the elite top eight player field at the season ending finale in London at the O2 arena to be played November 15-22. Nadal will be bidding for his fourth title of the season having won in Buenos Aires (d. Monaco), Hamburg (d. Fognini) and Stuttgart (d. Troicki). He is 56-17 in 2015.
The last time Federer beat Nadal was at the Indian Wells ATP 1000 in the semifinal and he has a 4-1 lead in matches played Indoors between them. While the 34 year old Federer has won 17 majors and has captured 87 titles in his career, the 29 year old Nadal has 14 majors and 67 career titles. Nadal has claimed the last five meetings between the two including his lone Indoor win in the last four of the season ending finale in 2013. However with the home court advantage, this would be the Swiss maestro’s best chance to claim his first victory over the Spaniard since March 2012.
Prediction : Federer in three sets.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]