Federer into Basel quarters after fight-back
BASEL — Roger Federer stormed back after a slow start to turn the tables on Denis Istomin for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 second round win at the Swiss Indoors on Wednesday.
The third seed and five-time champion at his hometown tournament thrilled a sellout 9,200 crowd at the St Jakobshalle with the fightback which keeps him solidly in the chase for a place in the season-wrapup event in London next month.
Federer, now into the quarter-finals, stands provisional seventh in the field but needs strong showings this week at home and next week at the Paris Masters to ensure his passage into the year-end event which he has won six times.
The 32-year-old Swiss advanced in just under two hours, recovering after losing the first set against the Uzbek outsider, then claiming the second to level.
The third set was a true test for the 17-time grand slam winner who has had a dismal 2012 season, Federer laid down a marker as he held serve for 1-1 in the final set, winning that eight-minute game after saving four break points.
From then on, the momentum shift was complete for the Swiss favorite, who coasted into the last eight, firing a backhand winner on his first match point.
“I stared poorly, making too many errors, especially on the forehand,” said Federer. “I was risking too much and it was not paying off.
“I had to cut that risk and was a bit lucky to win. I started fighting back and got better as the match went on.
“I’m happy that I was able to turn it around, I needed a match like this.”
Holder Juan Martin del Potro began his title defense in the first round with a defeat of Finnish-born Swiss youngster Henri Laaksonen, with the number 244 becoming a 6-4, 6-4 victim of the top seed.
Del Potro is riding a run of form after winning Tokyo and playing the Shanghai final. “I played OK for the first match of the week,” said the winner who has already qualified into the World Tour Finals year-end field.
“He was nervous at the start. I took my break points when I could and that was that. I served well and took my chances.”
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