BASEL: Roger Federer beat childhood friend Marco Chiudinelli 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 on Saturday to clinch a 19th straight victory at the Swiss Indoors tournament and set up a final with Novak Djokovic.
Federer will be bidding for a fourth consecutive title here when he faces the second-seeded Serb, who saved three match points to win a dramatic semi-final over Radek Stepanek 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-2. World No 1 Federer leads Djokovic 9-4 in their career series, standing 2-2 his season with his rival.
Federer last lost in Basel in 2003 to Ivan Ljubicic, returned in 2006 and has won the last three editions. Djokovic, winner of three titles in 2009, moved into his ninth final of the year and remains the leader in ATP matches won in the season on 70.
Rezai lifts trophy
DENPASAR: Aravane Rezai claimed her second career trophy with a 7-5 win at the Bali Tournament of Champions as fellow Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli quit with a thigh injury after the first set on Sunday. Rezai’s win should see her break into the WTA top 30 for the first time.
The victory in 62 minutes was the first all-French singles final on the Tour since Amelie Mauresmo beat Mary Pierce at the Paris Indoors in 2006. The title was the second of her career for the 44th-ranked Rezai, following her win at Strasbourg in May. Rezai now stands 2-2 in career finals after finishing runner-up in 2007 at Istanbul against Elena Dementieva and in 2008 at Auckland against Lindsay Davenport.
VALENCIA: Top seeded Briton Andy Murray defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the final of the Valencia Open on Saturday.
Murray, bidding for a sixth title of 2009, will face Mikhail Youzhny in final after the Russian defeated compatriot and No 2 seed Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. After winning the final three games of the first set to clinch a one-set lead, Murray could not maintain his momentum as Verdasco broke serve twice to race to a 5-1 lead in the second set before levelling the match. Murray who held his nerve in the final set, breaking through in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead before going on to seal victory.