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Federer back to winning ways in Basel

Roger Federer returned to winning mode ten months after his last title as the home tennis hero thrashed Japanese wild card Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-3 to win a fifth Swiss Indoors title on Sunday.

The third seed lost just one point in a dominating first set which lasted 28 minutes. The 21-year-old Nishikori found some range in the second set but had no hopes against an on-form Federer at the event where he once served as a ballboy.

“It was a perfect match for me. Now I have big hopes for Paris and London,” said Federer, whose eyes moistened as he held the trophy to a standing ovation from “his” crowd after ending his longest title drought since 2002.

“It’s great to win at home again,” said Federer. “Kei put up a good fight. I’ve known ever since I hit with him as a teenager that he could have a good future.

“He’s had some injuries but he’s playing well now. It was a good match and I’m very happy for the win.”

The 30-year-old Federer now stands 29-1 at the event over the past six years after playing six straight finals. The tournament is the only non-grand slam tournament where he has won more than 40 matches.

Federer improved to 54-12 this season as he competed in his first final since losing to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in June.

The seed, who hit with Nishikori several seasons ago in Miami and had the Asian youngster marked for a promising future, was playing in his 98th ATP final, standing 68-30 and 2-2 in 2011.

Federer nailed five aces and broke on four of 13 chances against Nishikori, who was playing his second final of the season after Houston in the spring. The Swiss saved the only break point he faced.

Federer allowed Nishkori one game in the opening set as the newcomer put up a fight to no avail.

The veteran claimed the opener on a Nishikori double-fault and then broke for 4-2 in the second after producing his third love game.  Federer concluded with a break, setting up a match point with a pass after drawing Nishikori into the net.

“I tried to fight, but Roger would not let me into the match,” said Nishikori. “I’m very glad to have played the final. It’s always been one of my goals to play Roger.”

The challenger goes to Paris with a special exempt entry after reaching the Basel semi-finals.

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IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

Hundreds of runners braved a lung-busting ascent into the Alps in Switzerland's Glacier 3000 Run on Saturday, albeit on a shortened course due to summer heatwaves melting the ice.

IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

The event’s 14th edition was back without limitations after being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and run in 2021 with restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

The race is normally run over 26.2 kilometres but was contested on a slightly modified 25.2km course this year due to the glacier melting, with the last pass over its surface shortened.

Runners make their way under a ski lift  on the glacier run in Switzerland

Runners make their way under a ski lift during the last kilometres of the Glacier 3000 run. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

“The accelerated melting of the top layer of the glacier has created a camber and a soft layer which the runner sinks into,” said race director Oliver Hermann.

“Rather than intervening to flatten the track, we preferred to deviate the course.”

Runners on last stretch of Switzerland's glacier run

On the final stretch of this year’s shortened course. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

The finish line is 1,886 metres higher than the start, at nearly 3,000 metres up in the mountains by the Scex Rouge peak.

READ ALSO: Heatwaves close off classic Swiss and Italian Alpine hiking routes

The route begins in the jet-set ski resort town of Gstaad, at 1,050 metres above sea level.

It passes through forests, green mountain pastures before heading into rocky lunar-like landscapes and taking in the Tsanfleuron Glacier.

The course follows the Saane river upstream for 15 km before climbing up 1,800 metres over the remaining 10 km to the finish line — at an altitude of 2,936 metres.

A couple hold their hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets

A couple hold hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets, where the Glacier 3000 Run took place on August 6th. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

Some 311 men and 98 women completed the individual course, while 50 two-person teams also took part.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland’s glaciers are melting faster than usual this summer

The first man to finish was Kenyan competitor Geoffrey Ndungu in two hours and 17 minutes. He had finished in second place last year.

He was followed by compatriot Abraham Ebenyo Ekwam in 2:21 and then Switzerland’s Jonathan Schmid in 2:23.

Victoria Kreuzer was the first woman to finish, in 2:46, ahead of Nicole Schindler and Pascale Rebsamen — a Swiss clean sweep.

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