Flawless Federer Sprints Past Albot In Basel

De Minaur defeats Fritz on Wednesday

Can anyone stop Roger Federer at the Swiss Indoors Basel? The top-seeded Swiss moved closer to a 10th title at this event with an outstanding 6-0, 6-3 second-round performance on Wednesday against Moldovan Radu Albot.

“I’m extremely happy because I really struggled against him in Miami and he definitely got my attention there. I was basically a point away from losing,” Federer said. “It was important for me to show a reaction to that match and come out with a proper game plan. I think I learned a lot from that match.

“I really respect Radu. He tries everything to win in a really tough and great and fair way. I’m very happy with the way I played. I had an answer for everything he threw at me today and that’s great.”

Federer improved to 73-9 in Basel and has won his past 22 matches on centre court. The 38-year-old has dropped a mere six games in his first two rounds, competing in his 1,500th tour-level match as he defeated German Peter Gojowczyk on Monday.

“Maybe I was feeling some pressure [in my first appearances] and it was, in some ways, the hardest to play in front of friends and family in Basel, but not in the past 17 years,” Federer said. “I’ve really enjoyed every moment and always tried to understand how I should take advantage of playing at home.”

Read More: Goffin & Wawrinka Make Their Cases For London With Basel Wins

in Miami, Albot pushed Federer to the edge in a three-set tussle. Armed with the knowledge of how dangerous the Moldovan can be, Federer brought his best tennis from the first point. The Swiss dominated the baseline rallies throughout the opening set, firing 13 winners as he sprinted to an early advantage after 22 minutes.

Albot did his best to keep his spirits up and the crowd entertained in spite of the one-sided scoreline. He cracked a sarcastically bemused smile after a rare Federer error at 0-2 in the second set, then bowed to the crowd after holding serve in that game to get on the board.

But while the Moldovan won a moral victory by avoiding a double bagel, he wasn’t able to win much else on the night as Federer continued his vintage form. A strong backhand from the Swiss wrapped up play after 62 minutes. Federer finished the night with 32 winners to just 21 unforced errors, in addition to taking 75 per cent of his service points (30/40).

Awaiting Federer in the next round is seventh-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka or #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe, who both won their respective first-round matches on Wednesday. Federer leads Tiafoe 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a win in Basel two years ago. He also holds a 23-3 advantage over Wawrinka in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and has prevailed in their past seven matches. Federer won their lone Basel clash in the 2011 semi-finals.

“I think the fans would love [a match against Stan] because he’s struggled at this tournament for some reason, but it’s great to see him back healthy,” Federer said. “We’ve always had some tough matches, even on hard courts. Hopefully this match happens for the fans.”

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#NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur continued his dominance over Taylor Fritz with a 6-3, 6-3 win and improved to 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. The 20-year-old, who also defeated Fritz this July in the Atlanta final, racked up 10 break points and converted four to advance after one hour and 17 minutes. He'll play Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarter-finals after the German defeated Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 6-4.

“I felt like I played a very complete match. I had a game plan and was able to stick to it. I’ve been working on just trying to keep that high level,” said De Minaur. “This is a tournament I’m really enjoying. Everything is easy and all the people are so nice, so it’s just a joy to play here.”

Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis picked up his 100th tour-level win with a dominant 6-1, 6-1 victory over Spaniard Pablo Andujar. Next up for Berankis is a second-round clash with third-seeded #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Filip Krajinovic, runner-up last week in Stockholm (l. to Shapovalov), continued his top form by easing past fellow Serbian Laslo Djere 6-1, 6-4. The 27-year-old improved to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Djere and will meet fifth-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini for a place in the quarter-finals.

Did You Know?
The six games Federer has dropped so far this week is the fewest he's lost in his opening two matches in Basel since 2006. 

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