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Federer beats del Potro in Swiss Indoors final

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BASEL, Switzerland — Roger Federer finally beat Juan Martin del Potro in a Swiss Indoors final, winning 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3 Sunday to go clear in second place on the Open era title list.

Federer’s 95th ATP tournament win – the eighth in his hometown Basel event where he was once a ballboy – lifted him out of a tie with Ivan Lendl, trailing only Jimmy Connors who has 109.

The top-seeded Federer succeeded on the same court where he lost the 2012 and 2013 Basel finals to del Potro.

Federer rallied from a break down in the decisive set and clinched when the fourth-seeded Argentine sent a service return long.

Trailing in the second set, the 36-year-old Swiss had slammed his racket on the net cord in frustration when wasting a break-point chance.

Federer improved to 7-1 in finals this season. They include his previous event, the Shanghai Masters two weeks ago, and Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

He now has a 18-6 lifetime record against del Potro, who has a 3-2 edge over Federer in finals.

Federer served for the first set with a 5-4 lead – before del Potro immediately broke back – and let a 3-0 lead slip in the tiebreaker.

Del Petro reeled off six straight points in the tiebreaker, including one after a 23-shot exchange, then clinched with his third set point keyed by a strong serve.

Both players had break-point chances early in the second set, and Federer hit his racket on the net cord after spurning his with a backhand volley sent wide.

Federer gifted del Potro a chance to break with two double faults but held with strong serves.

Forcing two set points on del Potro’s serve, Federer took the second when seeing his opponent’s baseline forehand fly long.

They traded service breaks to open the decisive set, and Federer stood head bowed for several seconds with his hands on the net when a wild forehand gifted del Potro his chance.

On the next point, Federer netted a backhand volley to fall behind 1-0, though soon leveled with a fierce forehand winner.

Federer broke again for a 3-1 lead and served out the match under little pressure.

Dimitrov defeats Goffin to win ATP Finals title

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LONDON — Grigor Dimitrov claimed the biggest title of his career at the season-ending ATP Finals on Sunday, prevailing on his fifth match point to beat David Goffin of Belgium 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

“It’s such an honor to play here,” Dimitrov said. “This week has been one of the best I’ve ever had.”

The sixth-seeded Bulgarian won in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 15 seconds for the longest final since the tournament returned to a three-set format in 2008.

Dimitrov won all five of his matches at the O2 Arena to become the first player to win the elite tournament on debut since 1998, when Alex Corretja of Spain triumphed in Hanover.

Goffin saved three match points on his own serve, but Dimitrov kept his cool, taking the second opportunity on his own delivery to close it out.

By reaching the final, Dimitrov had already secured a career-high No. 3-ranking to end the year. Goffin also moves up to a career-best No. 7.

The final lasted more than 11 minutes longer than Roger Federer took to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011. It was a nervous start as both players failed to hold serve in the opening three games before Goffin settled down to control the opener as Dimitrov struggled with his timing.

However, Dimitrov fought his way back into the set. He leveled in the eighth game before breaking once more in the 12th to snatch the set in which Goffin hit eight more winners.

Dimitrov’s confidence carried into the second set, where he brought up the first break point in the sixth game, only for Goffin to produce a stunning cross-court backhand winner to save it. The momentum back with him, Goffin broke the following game for a 4-3 lead and calmly closed out the set.

Having come from behind to beat Federer in Saturday’s semifinal, Goffin had every reason to be confident and could have gone ahead. But he wasted four break points in the opening game – they would turn out to be his only chances in the decider.

Dimitrov was more clinical, striking in the sixth game to take control. Goffin tested Dimitrov’s nerve by saving three match points on his own serve, before saving one on Dimitrov’s. However the Belgian’s resistance came to an end as he netted a backhand volley, leaving Dimitrov in tears.

(This story has been corrected to show it was the longest three-set final since the tournament returned to a three-set format in 2008, not longest three-set final ever.)

Goffin ousts Federer in ATP Finals semis

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LONDON — David Goffin ended Roger Federer’s bid for a seventh ATP Finals title by stunning the favorite 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals on Saturday.

The Belgian claimed the biggest win of his career and qualified for the final on Sunday, when he will face Grigor Dimitrov or Jack Sock. They play later Saturday.

Federer looked to be heading toward his 11th final at the elite season-ending tournament when he cruised through the first set, but Goffin took advantage of a drop in his play to level.

Despite having lost all six of his previous encounters with Federer, Goffin was able to execute better in the deciding set, breaking in the third game and producing a nerveless display of serving to seal victory.