Top seed Juan Martin del Potro won the Swiss Indoors for the second straight year as the Argentine beat five-time champion Roger Federer 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-4 on Sunday.
The re-run of last year’s title match, which ended with a similar result, took two hours and 20 minutes with Federer dropping serve with two double-faults to start the third set.
The Swiss third seed had the chance to clinch his spot in the elite eight-man World Tour Finals in London but will have to wait until next week as the ATP regular season closes at the Paris Masters.
The modest Argentine, victorious over Federer in their past three matches, was apologetic in victory after beating the 17-time grand slam champion.
“I’m sorry again to beat you here. It’s always a pleasure to play Roger. He’s the hero here and, for me, my biggest inspiration.
“You make history at every tournament you play. I’m proud to be playing at the same time as you.”
Federer fired 14 aces to no avail as he failed to win what would have been just a second title in a disappointing season.
The 32-year-old had won five titles at the Basel stadium where he started as a ballboy nearly two decades ago.
Federer was on the back foot as del Potro came up the early leader in the 54-minute opening set after breaking the Swiss but then losing his own serve a game later for a 5-4 lead.
As the opener went into a tiebreaker, del Potro claimed a 4-1 lead before Federer clawed back, pulling to 3-5 but netting a forehand for three del Potro set points. Only one was required.
Federer rallied in the second set to level with two breaks of the Argentine.
But the Swiss star’s misfire in the opening game of the final set proved to be too much to overcome.
“Congratulations to Juan, who has been having a great few years,” Federer said. “I had to fight hard all the way through.
“I feel I was lifting my level but so was he. At the end, I felt I was playing not badly at all.”
Del Potro, already qualified for London, added Basel to his trophies this season in Rotterdam, Washington and Tokyo.