BASEL, Switzerland: Old rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal posted straight-sets wins at the Swiss Indoors on Saturday (Sunday
in Manila) to line up their first final against each other since Rome in 2013.
It will be a first-time title match appearance for Nadal in the hometown of his longtime rival, while Federer will be bidding for his seventh trophy from a tenth straight Basel final and 12th overall at his local venue.
The Swiss top seed crushed American outsider Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 though the 17-time Grand Slam winner was broken while serving for victory leading a set and 5-1.
Nadal shrugged off an opening set knee injury worry in a 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) win over France’s Richard Gasquet.
The Spanish third seed admitted he got a fright when he felt something in his right knee after a sudden movement in the seventh game.
He immediately called for the trainer and got a strapping below his kneecap before carrying on.
Nadal then resumed business as usual with a break-back of Gasquet for 4-4 on his way to taking the set on a third winning opportunity with an inside-out forehand winner.
“I was a little bit scared. I felt something in the knee,” he said. “It’s not the knee I usually have problems (with).”
Nadal said he was thrilled to be facing Federer again for a title.
“We’ve played a lot in important matches. This will be another special match against an amazing player,” said Nadal who will be appearing in his 98th career final on Sunday.
“I’m happy with how my knee responded, it feels fine. I hope I’m going be ready for a great match tomorrow.
Federer improved to 12-1 in Basel semi-finals with his only loss coming in 2002 against David Nalbandian. He now stands 60-9 at the event.
Sock was the first American semi-finalist in Basel since Andy Roddick in 2010, who also lost to Federer.
Nadal went down an early break in both sets against Gasquet and had to battle in the second set after winning the first.
Gasquet broke for 1-0, taking seven break points to finally earn a lead. Nadal then resumed his battle to catch up finally getting that break back for 5-5.
Gasquet put over an ace to send the set to a tiebreaker, where he trailed 4-1 before catching up.
But he missed on a set point with a low return which proved to be a fatal error with Nadal riding out the win on his second match point on a Gasquet error.
Gasquet’s defeat also settled the field for the eight-man World Tour Finals in London from November 15, with Japan’s Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer of Spain taking the last two spots.