Federer Takes Title #7 in Basel, Sousa Captures Valencia 250
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Roger Federer made it seven titles in his hometown of Basel, and six titles in 2015 with a 6-3 5-7 6-3 victory over rival Rafael Nadal. The match with Nadal was Federer’s first this season, and he performed well in the opening set, and in the clutch to finish off the Spanish lefty. Nadal got a late break in the second set and played well overall, but on indoor hard courts, the surface and venue favored Federer.
Roger had a pair of tough matches earlier in the week, as he was pushed to the brink against Philipp Kohlschreiber in round 2, and lost a set to David Goffin in the quarterfinals, but routine wins over Mikhail Kukushkin, and in the semis against Jack Sock were masterclass performances in front of appreciative home fans all week. Sock continues his fantastic run of form with another deep run in an ATP tournament and has had a career year overall. The American beat fellow Yanks Denis Kudla, John Isner, and Donald Young to reach the semis.
Rafa completed another fantastic Fall ATP tournament with wins over Lukas Rosol, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, and Richard Gasquet in Federer’s backyard. With the exception of the Gasquet match, Nadal had to fight hard to win this week his first three matches going the distance. All three opponents put in serious roadwork, but Rafa performed surprisingly well on indoor hard and showed a spark he hasn’t for most of this season.
Alex Peya and Bruno Soares took home the doubles title over fellow doubles specialists Jamie Murray/John Peers.
Portugal’s #1 Joao Sousa secured a career high ranking of #34 in the world with his second career ATP title a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over home Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in Valencia. Sousa started slow, but Bautista Agut would begin to run out of energy and see his shots go awry. By the end of the second set it was clear the Portugese man had seized the advantage, and his baseline ball striking was frustrating fellow ball striker RBA.
Sousa caught fire this week with wins over Gilles Muller in 2 sets, Benoit Paire in 3 sets, Pablo Cuevas in 2 sets, and Vasek Pospisil in 2 sets to reach the final. In a small tournament where form matters, Sousa got on track at the right time and his aggressive ball striking helped him prevail. Sousa has reached four 250 level finals this season, with the one title this week.
RBA reached his second final this Fall as he’s found a late season run of form. He beat countryman Nicolas Almagro in 3 sets, Andrey Rublev and Mischa Zverev in straights, and Steve Johnson in three sets, saving multiple match points in the process, to reach the final. Johnson, like his fellow American Jack Sock, has had fantastic fall with deep runs at the ATP level and continues to improve.
Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky defeated Feliciano Lopez and Max Miryni in a battle of veterans to take home the doubles title.