© PPR/Kurt Schorrer

Juan Martin del Potro reaches the second round of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Wednesday.

Delpo Boosts London Hopes In Basel Opener

Third seed Goffin advances, to face Sock in QF

Two-time champion Juan Martin del Potro won his fifth consecutive match on Wednesday at the Swiss Indoors Basel, beating Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. The Intrum Stockholm Open champion (d. Dimitrov) won 83 per cent of his first-serve points and saved both break points faced in the third set.

“I think I dominated most of the match but in the second set I played worse than in the first and the third sets. He broke me at 4-all and then he closed the set. But in the end I started to play better as I did in the first one and I'm looking forward to playing better the whole match tomorrow,” del Potro said.

“I need to improve my game a little bit for tomorrow and see if I can keep winning because I'd like to spend more days in Basel.”

Delpo improved to 19-4 lifetime at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament. He also bolstered his chances of qualifying at the Nitto ATP Finals (2008-09, '12, 13) for the fifth time. The right-hander is in 14th place in the Emirates ATP Race To London, with 2,160 points, 490 points behind Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who holds the final qualification spot.

But if Delpo wins his third Basel title this week and Carreno Busta loses his second-round match against Argentine Diego Schwartzman at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna, Delpo will climb into the final spot.

The Argentine might have a tough ask in the final, though: Top seed Roger Federer, who is a seven-time champion and has a 29-2 record in Basel since 2010. Good news for Delpo, however: Both of those losses have come in finals against the Argentine. Delpo will next meet Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who beat Donald Young of the U.S. 6-4, 6-2. 

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Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, winner of the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Medvedev) and Winston-Salem Open (d. Dzumhur) in 2017, defeated Ryan Harrison of the United States 6-3, 7-6(1) in one hour and 39 minutes. The Spaniard will meet the winner of Benneteau-del Potro in the quarter-finals.

Another Nitto ATP Finals hopeful also advanced as David Goffin swept South Korea's Hyeon Chung, who qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals on Wednesday, 6-4, 6-1. The Belgian would qualify for the prestigious tournament if the Emirates ATP Race To London ended today. Goffin will next meet fifth seed Jack Sock, who defeated Dutchman Robin Haase 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Seventh-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, this season’s finalist at the Antalya Open (l. to Sugita) and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017 (l. to Goffin), withstood 18 aces from Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium to win 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-1 in two hours and three minutes. Mannarino now plays Canadian Denis Shapovalov, a Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier, in the second round.

Emirates ATP Race To London 

Two other Next Gen ATP qualifiers had a mixed day. Croatian Borna Coric set a second-round meeting with countryman Marin Cilic by putting a first-set tie-break behind him to advance 6-7(8), 6-1, 6-3 against Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen.

American Jared Donaldson, though, was outdone by Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics 6-0, 6-1 in only 56 minutes. Fucsovics saved five of six break points and won nearly 60 per cent of his second-serve points.

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