Juan Martin Del Potro retained his Swiss Indoors title with a 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-4 victory against Roger Federer in Basel.
The defeat to Federer, who played in front of a home crowd, extended his struggle for a 12th successive appearance at next month’s ATP World Tour Finals in London as he will now have to beat either Kevin Anderson or Mikhail Youzhny in his second-round match at next week’s Paris Masters to clinch one of the eight places at the O2 Arena.
Federer, 32, produced some vintage moments but could not deny Del Potro his fought ATP Tour 500 title in a calendar year.
The Argentine, who is already sure of a place in next month’s Tour Finals, broke in the eighth game of the opening set but the home favourite broke back immediately to love.
Despite saving two break points to take the set to a tie break, Federer quickly found himself 3-0 down and Del Potro went on to take the set.
“It was similar in intensity, rallies and the emotion of the fans [to the 2012 final],” said Del Potro. “The fans were cheering for him a lot, but they also respected me. They made a fantastic atmosphere. I think we played the best match of the tournament today.”
Federer sealed a break very early in the second set with a cross court winner and swiftly claimed the set in 36 minutes.
The Swiss struggled in the decider, losing his serve in the opening game with a double fault and failed to take two break points which came his way in the next.
He delayed a break point opportunity for Del Potro, 25, in the seventh game before the world number five comfortably finished off the contest, preventing Federer from claiming his sixth Swiss title.
“It’s always a pleasure to play Roger. He’s the hero here and for me my biggest inspiration,” said Del Potro.