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Roger Federer beats Stefanos Tsitsipas at Basel, faces Alex De Minaur in finals

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By the Associated Press

BASEL, Switzerland — Roger Federer delighted his hometown fans by cruising past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in the Swiss Indoors semifinals on Saturday.

Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a ball to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their semifinal match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Alexandra Wey / Keystone via AP)

Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a ball to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their semifinal match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Alexandra Wey / Keystone via AP)

Seeking a 10th career title in Basel, the 38-year-old Federer will play 20-year-old Alex de Minaur in Sunday’s final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns a ball to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their semifinal match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns a ball to Roger Federer of Switzerland (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

“That’s what you do with a home court advantage,” said Federer, who has reached the final 13 straight times he has played the Swiss Indoors. “They enjoy when I’m playing good tennis and it pushes me to play even better.”

De Minaur, a wild card, advanced by beating big-serving American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3) in a meeting of unseeded players.

Both finalists have won three titles this season, though for De Minaur these are the only three of his career so far while Federer is chasing his 103rd.

Serving for the match, Federer saved the only break point he allowed the seventh-ranked Tsitsipas.

Federer clinched two points later with a leaping volleyed winner approaching the net after Tsitsipas struggled to handle a strong first service.

Top-seeded Federer broke the Tsitsipas service at 2-2 in the first set, and created set point chances with a delicate angled drop volley for a winner. He clinched by firing an ace down the middle.

Federer broke again to begin the second set, taking his chance with a powerful forehand winner down the line.
Victory lifted Federer to a 50-8 record in 2019. It’s his third straight year of 50 wins since an injury-ravaged season ended early in 2016.

Alex De Minaur of Australia reacts during the semifinal match against Reilly Opelka of the United States at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Alexandra Wey / Keystone via AP)

Alex De Minaur of Australia reacts during the semifinal match against Reilly Opelka of the United States (Alexandra Wey / Keystone via AP)

De Minaur, ranked No. 28, has won all four of his semifinals this season. He went on take the title each time, at Sydney, Atlanta, and Zhuhai, China.

He also improved to 4-0 this season against the 37th-ranked Opelka, who stands at 6-foot-11 (2.10 meters).
Opelka hit 26 aces to top 1,000 for the year and overtake John Isner for the ATP lead.

“Probably the most important thing is not to get frustrated,” De Minaur said. “You’ve got to know that he’s going to serve at least 40, 50 aces against you.”

Federer and De Minaur, who was born in February 1999, four months after the Swiss great played his first match at Basel, have never played each other on tour.

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