Roger Federer fought through a week in which he played some of the poorest tennis (by his lofty standards) to claim an astonishing 99th career title in Basel, beating surprise package Marius Copil 7-6 6-4 in the final. In the end it came down to just a few points, with the first set tiebreak being decided by a poor attempt at a dropshot by Copil, and the second hinging on some bizarre judgement calls, where the Romanian underdog opted to leave balls which subsequently landed in on several occasions.
If you’ve not heard of Marius Copil, you’re not in the minority. Copil started the week as world number 93 and had lost 13 consecutive first round matches this year on the ATP World Tour. He also had a 0-6 record against top 10 players coming into this week. However, Copil defied the odds, coming through qualifying before stunning 2nd and 3rd seeds Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic to reach the final. However, Federer was simply too strong for Copil on the day, playing the bigger points better and holding his nerve on occasions where Copil could not. What will make this victory even sweeter for Federer, is the fact that he fought through serious adversity in earlier rounds. He was very nearly beaten by and Filip Krajinovic in Round 1, and Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals. But Federer showed us all why he can never be written off, fighting to victory through sheer willpower and determination.
“To come through and win again here in my hometown, never knowing if this might be your last time that you had the opportunity to play a final, maybe win for the last time here in my city, it obviously means a lot to me and it becomes very emotional,” Federer said. Federer will now try to claim his 100th career title at the Paris Masters next week, where he’ll have a tough opener against either Milos Raonic or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Meanwhile, Kevin Anderson booked his spot at the ATP World Tour Finals by beating Kei Nishikori in a gritty final in the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Anderson claimed the first set 6-3, after breaking Nishikori in a return game lasting nearly 20 minutes and served impeccably throughout the second set to claim victory in a tiebreak, with a score line of 6-3 7-6. In doing so, Anderson also claimed the biggest title of his career, winning his first ATP 500 event.
In the championship match of the WTA Tour Finals, Elina Svitolina had to come from behind against opponent Sloane Stephens to be crowned champion in Singapore. Stephens dominated the early proceedings, racing to a one set lead. However, what followed was a remarkable turnaround, in which Stephens could only manage to win four more games as she was outplayed by an inspired Svitolina.
“It is amazing. I am very pleased with my performance this week,” said Svitolina, who was unbeaten in her previous nine WTA finals.
“There were nerves early on, but I was just trying to fight for every ball and I think that made the difference in the end.”