New Delhi: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won their respective Swiss Indoors semi-final matches on Saturday to set up a dream final match-up in their celebrated rivalry.
14-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, who is fighting hard to regain his lofty standards, played possibly his best tennis in a long time to beat Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (7) in the first semi-final. Third-seeded Nadal took little over two hours to complete the straight sets win over his French opponent.
The former world number from Spain started the match in worst possible way. losing the first game on serve. But he fought back, breaking world number 11 Gasquet twice in the eighth and 10th games, for a 6-4 win in 52 minutes.
Nadal survived a stern test in an epic second set, which lasted one hour and 15 minutes. Once again, Gasquet broke him in the very first game on his seventh chance. And until the 10th game, the Frenchman was keeping his chances alive for a come-back.
But Nadal broke to force a tie-breaker, which he won 7-6 (7), and book his first ever Basel final.
In the second match of the day at St. Jakobshalle, home favourite and six time winner Federer made short work of unseeded Jack Sock. The Swiss maestro won the match in one hour and five minutes in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion broke Sock in the fourth match of the first set, and it was enough for him to the set 6-3. However, in the second set, the world number 29 from America tried to put up a rear-guard action, breaking Federer in the eighth game in reply to losing the serves on the third and fifth games.
Then, it was too late with a vintage Federer keeping his calm in front of his loyal fans, and with that set-up a final match with his eternal rival Nadal.
Roger and Nadal last played each other competitively in January 2014, when Nadal won an Australian Open semifinal in three straight sets.
And, the 2013 Rome Masters was the last event that featured a Nadal-Federer final, which the Spaniard won in two sets.
Head-to-head, Nadal leads 23–10, with 15 of those played on clay.