ATP Basel - Classy Federer eases to Basel win
Kei Nishikori was unable to pull off another shock in Basel as Roger Federer outclassed the Japanese youngster 6-1 6-3 to retain his crown.
Nishikori stunned world number one Novak Djokovic to reach the final but Federer, playing his first tournament since the US Open, was in imperious form - reducing his opponent to just a single point on the Swiss player's serve in the opening set.
The youngster displayed his fighting qualities in the second but was let down by a weak serve as local hero Federer, at his effortless best throughout, eased to his 68th career title - and his fifth Basel Open crown in six years.
Federer said that the win vindicated his decision to skip Shanghai.
"I'm at a different point in my career to the younger guys, I have to focus on what's better for my body, my mind, my family and I think it was the right decision," he said.
"I'm feeling fit and ready for more. I am hungry and fired up and that is how you want to be at this stage of the season," added the world number four, who served five aces and no double faults," the Swiss world number four added.
"Next season will be packed with the Olympics, there will be a lot of tennis so I have to be prepared."
Nishikori admitted that he let the occasion get to him.
"It was a dream come true. He has always been my idol. It was a great experience for me. I am looking forward to playing against him again," Nishikori, who trained with Federer five years ago, said.
"I was very excited to be playing Roger here in a final and I started a little bit nervous. I only started to play well in the final few points.
"I'm disappointed at the way I played today, he was too good for me and I felt I couldn't do anything against him. "
Federer, now number four in the world rankings, looked fresh as he looked to secure his first title since he defeated Nikolay Davydenko to win the Qatar Open in January.
He opened with a break of Nishikori's serve in the very first game of the match, consolidating it with an explosive hold of his own serve. Federer dictated the rallies from the baseline and looked at his effortless best, not allowing Nishikori a sniff on the Swiss player's serve.
A further two breaks ensued as Federer displayed all the hunger and determination of his opponent, some eight years his junior, to wrap up the first set 6-1.
Nishikori, whose boundless enthusiasm and ability at the net proved too much for Djokovic 24 hours earlier, started the second set strongly, grinding out consecutive holds of serve.
But Nishikori's serving, particularly his second serve, was falling short and Federer was able to dictate the rallies as Nishikori tired.
The man from Shimane earned his first break point in the very last game of the match, pushing Federer at 30-40. But the 16-time Grand Slam winner unleashed a magnificent forehand winner for Championship point, before wrapping up his first title since January.