Roger's Basel Streak Hits 17
Roger Federer had to hurtle another slow start on Thursday at the Swiss Indoors Basel, but the eight-time champion pulled it together quickly to reach another quarter-final in his hometown. The top-seeded Swiss stayed unbeaten (4-0) against German Jan-Lennard Struff, dismissing the 6'5” right-hander for the third time this year 6-3, 7-5.
"I was ready for Struff to come out and swing. I didn't know how aggressive he was going to play or how much serve and volley he was going to do. But unfortunately, I didn't have the best first two service games. But he also played well, I must say. He connected well, he came out with a plan and it worked for him," Federer said. "In the second set it was close throughout, but I think I was able to clean up my game a little bit... I'm obviously happy I got through today."
Federer stretched his Basel winning streak to 17 and is two matches away from reaching his 14th final and his 12th in as many appearances. The 37-year-old was broken in the third game when he overplayed a forehand, and Struff, who was holding with ease behind 224 km/h serves, pushed his lead to 3-1 before Federer settled to take five straight games and the set behind the home faithful.
The 28-year-old Struff composed himself in the second, but serving at 40/40, 5-5, he threw in a pair of loose errors, including a double fault on break point. Federer, who's already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November, will next meet Frenchman Gilles Simon, who beat last week's Intrum Stockholm Open finalist Ernests Gulbis 7-6(4), 7-6(0). Federer leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-2.
"I'm happy that I improved after a rocky, slow start today, to play well after that. I think the crowd was really into it. They were excited that I came back from being a break down," Federer said. "I'm excited for the next round, so I'm actually quite happy how I'm playing right now."