Basel a stroll for Federer; 2 spots left for ATP Finals

Roger Federer in action against Frances Tiafoe at the Swiss Indoors. The world No. 2 still has a chance of ending this season as No. 1.
Roger Federer in action against Frances Tiafoe at the Swiss Indoors. The world No. 2 still has a chance of ending this season as No. 1.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BASEL • Roger Federer thrashed American teenager Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday as the top seed began his week at the Swiss Indoors with a resounding first-round victory.

Federer, who beat Spanish rival Rafael Nadal with ease just over a week ago in the Shanghai final, continued his top form in front of his hometown crowd at an event he has won seven times.

The 36-year-old Swiss, who has competed in a dozen Basel finals, made quick work of his 19-year-old opponent, who had taken him to five sets in the first round of this year's US Open.

The world No. 2 will be in second-round action today and he is up against France's Benoit Paire, a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) winner over American Steve Johnson.

"Today, I felt good from the beginning. I had a great first set and in the second set, I had to reset and figure it out. Serving well alone is not good enough; you have to find yourself into the match, on the return also," Federer told ATP's website (www.atpworldtour.com).

"But I felt good throughout. Even if it had been three sets, it would have been okay.

"As long as I'm winning, it's all good. I'm just happy to win the first match. Frances was tough in the US Open.

"The next round with Paire will be tough, he's a dangerous player indoors. I'm happy I've found my rhythm early in Basel."

Meanwhile, world No. 4 Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov have sealed their spots in next month's ATP Finals, leaving two spots still up for grabs in the season-ending tournament in London.

The duo join world No. 1 Nadal, Federer, Germany's Alexander Zverev and Austrian Dominic Thiem in the elite eight-man field after American Sam Querrey lost his first-round match at the Vienna Open on Tuesday.

Croat Cilic won the Istanbul Open in May and reached the finals at Wimbledon and Queen's Club to help earn his spot in the ATP Finals for the third time, having previously competed in the 2014 and 2016 editions.

Dimitrov's first ATP 1000 title at the Cincinnati Open in August and his Sofia Open and Brisbane International triumphs helped the 26-year-old become the first Bulgarian to qualify for the ATP Finals.

With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka all out injured, Belgian David Goffin and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta are favourites to grab the remaining spots at the Nov 12-19 Finals in London.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Basel a stroll for Federer; 2 spots left for ATP Finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe