BASEL, Switzerland: Roger Federer beat childhood friend Marco Chiudinelli 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 on Saturday to clinch a 19th straight victory at the Swiss Indoors tournament and set up a final with Novak Djokovic.
ederer will be bidding for a fourth consecutive title here when he faces the second-seeded Serb, who saved three match points in spectacular fashion to win a dramatic semi-final over Radek Stepanek 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-2.
World number one Federer leads Djokovic 9-4 in their career series, standing 2-2 his season with his rival.
Federer last lost in Basel in 2003 to Ivan Ljubicic, returned in 2006 and has won the last three editions.
Chiudinelli saved a set point in the combative opening set, but then was passed on one of his own before Federer landed the tiebreaker.
Federer took control 4-1 in the second on his way to a 59th victory this season.
Djokovic, winner of three titles in 2009, moved into his ninth final of the year and remains the leader in ATP matches won in the season on 70.
He looked to be on the brink of a loss, trailing a set and 4-5 after Stepanek had taken the lead with his sixth ace in the previous game.
Facing three match points in the tenth game after a double-fault, Djokovic calmly saved two with winners while a Stepanek error accounted for the third.
A break in the next game for 6-5 and a forehand winner to end the set breathed new life into Djokovic.
The Serbian began the final set with a break and closed out Stepanek with a break in the seventh game and an error from the Czech a game later to escape in two and a half hours.