(Reuters) – World number three Roger Federer beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 7-6(5) 6-4 to win the Swiss Indoors on Sunday and claim his 99th career title in front of his home crowd in Basel.
Federer began the year by winning the Australian Open and his ninth Basel title was his fourth of the season but the first since his victory in Stuttgart in June.
The Swiss top seed was made to work hard by the fearless Copil, whose path to the final included wins over world number six Marin Cilic and number five Alexander Zverev.
The 28-year-old broke Federer’s serve early in the match but the Swiss recovered to force a tiebreak that he needed every bit of his vast experience to win.
Copil stormed out of the blocks in the second set, racing into a 3-0 lead before Federer got on the scoreboard, but the Swiss kept a level head to reel his opponent back in before breaking serve to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.
He closed out the victory in one hour, 34 minutes for his fourth consecutive title in Basel to draw within one of his century.
American Jimmy Connors (109) is the only player to have won more than 100 career titles in the professional era.
Despite being broken twice by world number 93 Copil, Federer was never truly in danger, striking 22 winners and winning 32 out of 34 first-serve points.
Copil made 31 unforced errors and crumbled when the pressure was highest, allowing Federer to recover from a break down in the second set and win the last five games as the Romanian’s challenge ran out of steam.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)