BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Roger Federer set up a rematch with Juan Martin del Potro for his hometown Swiss Indoors title by beating Vasek Pospisil in a tense semifinal Saturday.
Federer advanced to his eighth straight Basel final with a 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 victory over the 40th-ranked Canadian.
The third-seeded Federer faltered when serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set. He fell behind 3-1 in the decider before rallying in front of a capacity crowd of 9,200 at St. Jakobhalle.
"Watching is actually worse than playing itself," said Federer, describing the atmosphere as a "roller-coaster ride."
"It's almost nice to be part of it even though, in the moment, it could have been easier," he added.
Earlier, defending champion del Potro also let the second set slip away against an unseeded opponent before beating Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Federer, a five-time champion at Basel, is looking to reclaim the title taken by the fifth-ranked Argentine last year.
"It's always a pleasure for me," the top-seeded del Potro said, referring to another meeting with Federer. "I know all the people are waiting for that final and it would be like a rematch for him."
With a victory Sunday, the sixth-ranked Federer will secure a spot in the ATP Finals in London in just more than a week.
This has been his most difficult season, one beset by back injuries and startling defeats to lower-ranked opponents. He improved his season record to 40-13, his fewest wins since he went 49-21 in 2001, the year he turned 20.
In a dramatic third set, wayward groundstrokes from Federer allowed Pospisil to break for a 3-1 lead.