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By Chris Oddo | Thursday, October 23, 2014

 
Roger Federer, Basel 2014

For the second straight year Denis Istomin took Roger Federer to three sets and for the second straight year the Swiss maestro prevailed.

Photo Source: AP

Roger Federer found himself a set down to Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin for the second consecutive year at the Swiss Indoors Basel, and for a second time Federer worked his way out of trouble to advance to the quarterfinals on home soil.

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Federer’s 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory marks the Swiss maestro’s sixth victory in six career battles with the world No. 55, but for the second consecutive time, he was forced to go the distance.

Istomin broke through in the opener, claiming a 4-2 lead on his third break point of the game when he knocked a backhand crosscourt winner at a devilish angle that Federer could not reach.

He would save a break point in the next game and ride the momentum to clinch the set.

Federer, who is looking to gain much-needed points on world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Basel and can only do so with a title, fought back in the second set, claiming a break in the sixth game when his net approach forced Istomin to sail a backhand well long.

Things would tighten considerably in the third, with an edgy Federer apparently feeling the pressure of playing in front of his adoring hometown fans. He failed to convert on four break points in Istomin’s first service game, and failed on the first three of the Uzbek’s next, but finally Federer hit his mark when he rifled a backhand down-the-line winner to claim the break.

With Federer leading 3-2, Istomin’s one opportunity to level would go begging when Federer followed up a pinpoint serve with a forehand drive volley winner. It would be Istomin’s final chance to break. Federer would hold the rest of the way, hammering an ace down the T to close the match in one hour and 47 minutes.


The Swiss will face either Grigor Dimitrov or Vasek Pospisil in Friday’s quarterfinals at Basel.

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