Roger Federer has beaten Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 Swiss Indoors Open in Basel, Switzerland. The Swiss top seed won the match in just under 90 minutes and now leads the once nicknamed “Babyfed” 2-0 in their career head to head.
This second win for Federer was similar to the last time the two played. The 17 time slam champion also beat Dimitrov in straight sets at the same stage of the Swiss Indoors last season. That win, like this one, came curiously enough after the world No. 2 had come back from a set down against Dennis Istomin in the previous round.
This win also had other similarities to the one last season. Dimitrov once again had his chances against the Swiss. The 23 year old had four set points in the opening set however he could not take them. Federer, serving second, served twice to stay in the first set, and was too clutch on his serve for Dimitrov. Fedesaved the first set point with a first serve out wide to the Dimitrov forehand and then took on the short return for a forehand winner. The Swiss saved the second with a second service ace, his fifth ace of the match. Dimtrov earned his third set point with a backhand return winner, but Federer served out wide and rushed the net forcing an error from Dimitrov who had room to pass the Swiss but could not capitalize. A forehand shank at the net and Dimitrov has another chance. The fourth and final set point was saved by the Swiss, however, as he struck down an ace. The serving prowess of Federer made the difference, too, in the tiebreak as Federer took it 7-4 with a service winner.
Federer appeared to have a let down at the start of the second set as Dimitrov got to 0-30 on his serve but the world No. 11 could not take advantage. Federer then had a break point for a 2-0 lead, converted it and then broke Dimitrov again as he cruised to take the second set 6-2 and book his place in the semi-final in Basel for the 12th time in his career.
The win boosts Federer’s chances of finishing the 2014 season on top of the ATP rankings. The Swiss is defending finalist points at his home event after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in last season’s title match. Federer could gain points this year if he wins the title and with Nadal and Wawrinka both out of the event, Federer will be the favorite to win his fifth title of the year after Dubai, Halle, Cincinnati and Shanghai.
For Dimitrov, a win would have earned him valuable points towards qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals starting on Nov. 9. Dimitrov is 11th in the race with 3555 points. He will gain 90 points to have 3645 , but he will still be ranked behind Milos Raonic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Tomas Berdych who are all ahead of him in the race for the seventh and eighth remaining qualifying spots. Dimitrov’s cause was helped a little by Raonic’s defeat in the last eight of Basel today and the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal from the ATP World Finals.
Federer will next face Ivo Karlovic in the semi-finals. He leads the game’s biggest server 11-1 in their head to head. In the final he could meet either David Goffin or wild card Borna Coric who, aged only 17, beat Rafael Nadal in a shock last eight win.
Commentary by Christian Deverille