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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » It's Federer vs Nalbandian in Basel

It's Federer vs Nalbandian in Basel

October 25, 2008 23:13 IST

Roger Federer will take on David Nalbandian in the Swiss Indoors final after the Basel-born, world number two's bid for a third straight hometown title continued with an easy semi-final win on Saturday.

The top seeded Federer booked his place in Sunday's decider with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez while second seeded Argentine Nalbandian saw off compatriot and Davis Cup teammate Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-4.

QF report

Federer faced two break points in his second service game against Lopez but defended them calmly with a service winner and an ace.

After that he had no further problems -- hitting a total of 15 aces and breaking Lopez three times to complete his seventh win in seven matches against the Spaniard.

"I had a bit of difficulty at the start," acknowledged Federer. "But then I found my rhythm and my serve was working even better than normal so I'm really happy about that."

Federer said he expected a tougher challenge on Sunday from Nalbandian, whose 8 wins and 9 losses in previous matches against the Swiss is one of the best records on the tour.

"Nalbandian? Never heard of him," the 13-time grand slam champion joked when asked about the prospect of playing the Argentine once again.

"It's true he has a good record against me and he's also one of the few players to have been to at least the semi-finals of every Grand Slam event. It should be a lot of fun on Sunday."

Nalbandian also came through a one-sided match after benefiting considerably from the third-seeded Del Potro's difficulties with a lingering toe injury.

The 20-year-old world number nine began the match well enough against Nalbandian -- the senior Argentine by six years and one world ranking place -- breaking early to lead 2-0.

A series of unforced errors by Del Potro and some astute play from Nalbandian allowed the former Wimbledon finalist to pull back with two breaks of his own, however, after which Del Potro called for treatment on the troublesome toe.

It made little difference as Nalbandian cleverly exploited his colleague's misfortune, spraying the ball left and right and even mixing in a handful of harsh drop shots.

After wrapping up the first set he broke ahead early in the second and was barely troubled before saving a solitary break point at 5-4 with another drop shot that drew sympathetic groans from the crowd and then serving out.

Del Potro, who was forced to out of this month's Vienna Open because of the problem with the nail on his right big toe, said it would not stop him playing in next month's Davis Cup final despite requiring removal and 15 days rest.

"If I can play here I can play Davis Cup," he said. "We have the chance to win the Davis Cup for the first time so I don't want to be thinking about my toe."

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