ATP roundup: Federer tested, but moves into Basel semis

Jo Caldwell
October 31, 2018

Federer has not hit top form all week in Basel and he needed more than two-and-a-half hours to hold off the troublesome French veteran.

It finished 7-6, 6-4 to the 37-year-old Swiss who was once a ball boy at the Swiss Indoors at the St Jakobshalle.

"It's been an unbelievable week for me so far", 28-year-old Copil said.

It still took him four match points over three games to get the job done against a player he beat in three sets in the first round of the Shanghai Masters this month. Second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa led Croatian No. 6 Borna Coric 7-6 (2), 1-2 when Coric retired.

But 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer roared back, first levelling the set before securing the crucial break of serve to move 5-4 ahead.

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"It's been a magical week for me, a dream run for me", Federer said before attending his traditional post-final pizza party with the ballkids.

Federer, 37, spent nearly 90 minutes less on court Saturday than Copil, who has had to come through six matches to reach his second career ATP final.

"I was feeling good on court apart from closing it out, I had a few errors there".

The Swiss crowd favourite was never able to comfortably take command against an opponent whom he had defeated in their last six meetings.

The first-set tiebreaker was likely to be crucial given Copil's career record of 8-52 when losing the opening set in top-tier matches.

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But Simon once again fought back to make it 4-all. The second set produced five breaks of serve - only two to Federer - before Simon struck the victor. But he finally lost his nerve in the 12th game when two unforced errors in a row handed Federer the match.

Romania's Copil, who eliminated No 2 seed Alexander Zverev on Saturday, stormed into a 3-0 then a 4-1 lead against the world No 3 in the second set.

"It's very hard for me to explain how it feels like".

But a run of five consecutive games for Federer maintained the world number three's spectacular run in this competition.

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