Federer wins home title to top year-end rankings

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BASEL, Switzerland, Oct 28 (Reuters) Roger Federer won his seventh tournament of the season today, beating unseeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 6-4 to successfully defend his hometown title in Basel.

Federer's latest victory guarantees that the Swiss will finish the season as world number one for a fourth consecutive year.

Federer had not dropped a set in any of his previous seven meetings with the world number 29 and the Swiss Indoors final proved predictably straightforward.

''It's been a fantastic week, having the support of my home crowd behind me all the way,'' said Federer after receiving a standing ovation at the tournament where he once worked as a ballboy.

''Securing the number one ranking for the year and doing it here is particularly special.'' A single break of the Finn's serve at the start of the opening set put Federer comfortably on his way to winning his 52nd career title and his third on home soil.

Nieminen started to find his rhythm in the second set, securing a break point in Federer's first service game but failing to convert it.

The left-hander then won two service games to love, a feat that Federer failed to pull off throughout the match.

But any hopes that Nieminen might make things difficult for the world number one faded when he next came to serve, double-faulting to hand Federer a further break point before hitting a forehand wide.

''I was trying a little too much in the beginning and falling 3-0 behind is obviously not the best way to start against Federer,'' said the Finn after missing out on what would have been his second career title.

''I started to play better in the second set but it wasn't enough. But I've had a great week and losing to Roger is not the same as losing to other players,'' he said.

REUTERS TB RAI2233

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