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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.

Karen Khachanov beats Lucas Pouille to win Open 13 final

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) Big-serving Karen Khachanov secured the second ATP title of his career after beating Lucas Pouille 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the Open 13 final on Sunday.

The ninth-seeded Russian had 16 aces in a closely fought contest, winning on his second match point when the third-seeded Frenchman hit a forehand into the net from the back of the court. The pair hugged at the net in a show of sportsmanship.

“I hope there are many more finals between us in the future,” Khachanov said to Pouille. “I felt I was playing good here from the first day. It’s nice to play on a full court in the final, and I hope to come back next year.”

Khachanov, ranked 47th, won his second title in as many finals after clinching the Chengdu Open in China two years ago. Pouille missed out on a second title of the season and a sixth overall. The 16th-ranked Pouille was also runner-up at the indoor event in the southern seaport of Marseille last year.

“I’m from Dunkirk, in the north,” he told the crowd. “But I’m starting to feel at home here.”

As Khachanov held aloft the winners’ cheque for 115,150 euros ($141, 570), Pouille cracked a joke in English.

“You’ve got to pay the plane for Dubai now,” he said, looking ahead to next week’s ATP500 tournament. “Congratulations, I hope there are many more wins for you.”

Khachanov broke Pouille in the third game to take an early control. Pouille broke back with a fine backhand winner down the line to make it 5-5, but then lost his next service game as Khachanov whipped a forehand winner down the right side of the court.

It gave the imposing Russian a second chance to serve for the set and he clinched it with a strong service winner.

After saving two break points at 15-40 in the opening game of the second set, Pouille secured the only break of that set to level the match.

Khachanov hit nine aces in the third set and neither faced a break point until the 12th game on Pouille’s serve.

It gave Khachanov a match point but he missed a fairly routine smash at the net following a rally. Pouille double faulted to give him another chance to win.

Top-seeded defending champion Thiem tumbles out of Rio Open

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Top-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria tumbled out of the Rio Open on Friday, falling 6-4, 6-0 to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals of the clay-court event.

Thiem won the Argentina Open on Sunday for his ninth career title.

Verdasco will play fifth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy or Alijaz Bedene of Slovenia.

In the other semifinal at Jockey Club Brasileiro, sixth-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina will face Chile’s Nicolas Jarry. Schwartzman beat France’s Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4, and Jarry topped Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 7-5, 6-3.