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Federer, Del Potro to clash in Basel Final

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roger_federer_12There are few tennis venues in the world that can claim to be a playground for the Gods, but Basel in Switzerland has claimed the right to belong in such exalted company well before the Swiss Indoor championships had a home town hero named Roger Federer. With winners such as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras in its 37 year old history, Basel was famous even before Federer was born. However, since the legendary Swiss' arrival on the tennis scene, he has won the title no less than 5 times, and this Sunday will take on Juan Martin del Potro in his ninth Basel final.

Federer is still finding his feet on court after a brief lay-off, and the Swiss maestro was made to work for his semi-final win against Paul-Henri Mathieu, prevailing in two well contested sets, 7-5, 6-4. The win was a landmark triumph for Roger, who picked up his 875 W on the ATP Tour to go level with John McEnroe. Should he win Sunday's final, Federer will also claim his 77th career title, equaling another record of the left-hander American legend.

Standing between Federer and more glory are 6 feet 6 inches of Argentine Juan Martin del Potro. The 'Tower of Tandil' is in the midst of an 8 match unbeaten run, following up his title triumph in Vienna last week with a run to the final here. Del Potro made quick work of his semi-final opponent, another Frenchman in Richard Gasquet, who managed to win just 4 games, going down 6-2, 6-2.

Despite his apparent better form, Del Potro will have his work cut out against an opponent he knows all too well. Juan Martin has just 2 wins against Roger in 15 meetings, and none since his breakthrough triumph at the 2009 US Open. The players have squared off 6 times already this year with Federer reigning supreme in each meeting. With the home crowd firmly behind him, it is unlikely to see the final going any other way.

Semi-final Scores:

(1) Roger Federer (SUI) d. Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 6-4
(2) Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. (3) Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-2

File Photograph Copyright: Madrid Masters