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ROGER FEDERER

Federer ties Sampras at 64 titles in Stockholm

Roger Federer won his 64th career title on Sunday, levelling with Pete Sampras in the title Pantheon after defeating Germany's Florian Mayer at the Stockholm Open.

Federer ties Sampras at 64 titles in Stockholm

The 6-4, 6-3 victory in 63 minutes was particularly pleasing for the Swiss world number two, who now has a few days off before tackling the outside duties

which come with his position as top seed from November 1st on home turf at the Swiss Indoors in Basel.

“It feels great winning any event, but it’s especially nice to do it where I’ve never had a chance before,” said Federer, whose only other Stockholm visit was a decade ago.

“There is such a great tennis heritage here with all the greats. I knew I’d have a chance here, this was a good week for me. I’m happy to have played well,” he added.

There is little time for reflection for Federer, 52-12 this season, who bounced back with style from his Shanghai finals loss one week earlier against Britain’s Andy Murray.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion faces yet another uphill climb as he takes aim at the next step on the title ladder, the 77 trophies of John McEnroe.

American Jimmy Connors with 109 heads the all-time list, with Ivan Lendl second at 94 and McEnroe third.

“You want to savour every victory – you never know which one will be the last. Things move really fast. This was only a 250 event, but the victory is very special. This is maybe one tournament to remember more than some others,” said Federer.

Federer’s trophy was his third this year after the Australian Open and Cincinnati prior to the US Open. He stands 3-4 in his 2010 finals out of 15 events played.

However, the Stockholm success a decade after he last played the event will stand the 29-year-old in good stead for the last three tournaments of his season after he vowed to try and add to his victory total in the run-up to the eight-man World Tour Finals in London from November 21st.

“I came up with some good tennis. I was down a break had to scramble and battle back, but I found a way. Once I get the lead, it’s difficult for my opponents. When my game is on, I can really play well,” said Federer.

“This was a really good week. I’m happy how I pulled up after back-to-back weeks. And I’m happy with how I’m playing. Mayer played nothing-to-lose and hence offensive, tennis. But playing good opponents makes you play better also. I felt I gained the intensity and was able to keep it up,” he added.

Federer’s dominating win in front of Swedish royalty marked his 36th consecutive victory against Germans since losing to Nicolas Kiefer in 2002. He wrapped up the opening set in 34 minutes, then went to work to secure the victory.

A break in the sixth game of the second for 4-2 was enough, with Federer putting a forehand long on the first of three match points, but completing the win on his second opportunity with a service winner.

“Roger really deserved to win. I hope you get back to number one as soon as possible,” said the 47th-ranked Mayer, without a title from three career finals.

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TENNIS

Del Potro defends Stockholm Open title for 20th career crown

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro won the Stockholm Open for the second year in a row on Sunday.

Del Potro defends Stockholm Open title for 20th career crown
Juan Martin del Potro. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Del Potro beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to retain his Stockholm ATP title.

He thereby climbs to 14th in the race to the end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals in London while Dimitrov, who was top seed in Sweden, sits in fifth place.

The 29-year-old Argentine served nine aces and remained unbroken in a display of power to cruise past the Bulgarian in 1hr 25mins.

“I played the best match of the week against Grigor today,” Del Potro said.

“It’s amazing to come back and hold this big trophy. And hopefully I can come next year as well.”

After an injury-hit late season Del Potro made the Shanghai semi-finals last week before clinching his first title of the season on the indoor hard courts and the 20th of his career.

The Stockholm Open was first held in 1969 and has been played every year since.