After winning five ATP crowns in 2014, Roger Federer went even further the following season. Federer lifted six trophies in 2015, including a title defense in his hometown of Basel. On November 1, Federer defeated his great rival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and three minutes, taking the seventh Basel crown and the first win over the Spaniard since the Australian Open in 2012.
Between 2013 and 2014, Rafa lost only one set in five meetings against Roger. The Swiss had the perfect opportunity to avenge some of those losses in front of their home fans. With a roof advantage over his head, Federer scored his fifth indoor victory over Nadal in six meetings.
Philipp Kohlschreiber and David Goffin pulled away from Roger, but the home favorite was enough to clear four hurdles and reach the title match for the tenth year in a row. Nadal defeated Lukas Rosol in the first round, beating Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet to advance to the final and claim the first indoor crown ten years after Madrid 2005.
Both players served at 68% and Roger got more out of it. He hit 33 service winners to Rafa’s 17 and outplayed the opposition in the shortest rallies to create the crucial difference. They had a similar number of groundstroke winners.
At the same time, Roger dominated at net, keeping the points on his racket and hitting ten volley winners to push Nadal out of his comfort zone and avoid prolonged rallies. Federer had almost twice as many winners as Nadal.
He mastered his shots well to avoid too many unforced errors and adequately defended his backhand wing to only get broken once. Playing off seven break chances, Nadal suffered three breaks, unable to keep up with Roger on shorter swings or follow through on his shots and lengthen rallies.
Rafa held the line for 15 points after a setback in the first game and created a break chance in the second game that could have given him momentum early on.
In 2015, Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in a Basel grand final.
Roger saved it with a volley winner, converting the third down into a 3-2 lead in game five when his forehand barely hit the line.
Nadal had a chance to recover the break in the next one. Still, Federer hit a forehand crosscourt winner to stop it and went 4-2 with two service winners. Nadal stayed in the set at 3-5 and lost serve after Federer’s forehand winner, with the home favorite sealing the first set in 37 minutes for a huge boost.
Another fantastic forehand pushed Federer in front at the start of the second set. He held a service winner in games three and five to retain the advantage and increase the pressure on Rafa. The Spaniard saved a break point opportunity to make it 2-3 with a service winner.
Both served well until 5-5 when Roger missed a simple forehand to give his opponent a break chance. Nadal converted it with a deep backhand attack and delivered his best control of the game with four winners to take the set 7-5 and force a decider.
Rafa erased a break chance with a backhand crosscourt in game four. However, he couldn’t do the same at 3-4, losing a backhand exchange and sending Roger up 5-3. Nadal stayed in the next game with a backhand winner before Federer unleashed an incredible attack for another match point.
He converted it with an unreturned serve to celebrate the title and the first win over Rafa in over three and a half years!