Basel | Federer struggles through to semis
Roger Federer dropped his second set in three games as he continues to struggle through his matches at the Swiss Indoor 500 event in Basel. The top seed however, reached the semi-finals in an error-filled 7-6(1) 4-6 6-4 defeat of Gilles Simon after two and a half hours.
The Swiss crowd favourite was never able to comfortably take command against a tricky opponent whom he had defeated in their last six meetings.
The Swiss icon found himself in troubled after another slow start falling 2-5 behind 2-5 as Simon quickly settled into the quarter-final match. Federer could have recovered in the seventh game but failed to take advantage of two break points.
He did gate his break in the ninth game and saved two set points to force a tie-break where he came alive racing into a 5-1 lead and pocketing the set after an hour of hard work in which he made some 30 unforced errors.
But the 32nd-ranked Simon was not done and kept pace with the now seemingly revived Federer as they exchanged serves four times in a row until Federer took a 4-3 lead. That margin was erased two games later as Simon struck back to fall 4-5 behind and then lose the second set.
It wasn’t until the latter stages of the decider and when the first match point arose, Federer was quick to claim it forcing Simon into returning long over the baseline for his 18th consecutive winning match at a tournament where he is unbeaten since 2013 and an eight-time winner.
A relieved Federer hit 15 aces during the match but faced 10 break points, losing 40% of the points in his games and getting broken five times after hitting 40 winners and making 60 unforced errors. On the other hand, he won 44% of the return points, taking full advantage of Simon serving at only 47% to break him five times.
Consequently the 20-time Grand Slam champion will have to re-group quickly for the semis, where he will play Daniil Medvedev who also experienced a tough tussle in his late-match confrontation with the Sefanos Tsitsipas coming through 6-4 3-6 6-3.
The other semi-final features qualifier Marius Copil of Romania who beat Tayor Fritz 7-6(6) 7-5 and the second seeded Alexander Zverev, a 7-5 6-3 winner over Roberto Bautista Agut