Del Potro Delivers Gritty Effort To Reach Beijing QF, Qualify For London

Argentine clinches spot at the Nitto ATP Finals with QF appearance

Juan Martin del Potro has switched continents, but he's playing the same type of gritty tennis that carried him to his second Grand Slam final last month at the US Open.

The top-seeded Argentine advanced to the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing on Wednesday, denying Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6(4). The 22-year-old Khachanov was slugging evenly with Del Potro for much of the second-round match, but a couple dips in his level cost him a chance at the upset.

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Khachanov was broken to start the match, and Del Potro didn't face a break point in the opener. The two were even in the second until the 11th game, when Khachanov felt the nerves and netted a backhand on double break point.

The Argentine, while serving for the match at 6-5, 15/40, erased two break points and had a match point. But Khachanov broke for the first time when Del Potro shanked a forehand.

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In the tie-break, though, Del Potro smashed his 11th ace on his second match point to advance. “I think we played a good match. Basically in the second set we played a good tie-break with tough points. Karen is a difficult opponent. He has everything to keep improving. He has a big potential to grow in the [ATP Rankings] very soon. I think I did very good match today,” Del Potro said.

With the win, Del Potro qualifies for his fifth season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November at The O2 in London. Del Potro last qualified for London in 2013.

But this season has marked a return to the top for the Argentine, who leads the ATP World Tour with 34 hard-court wins and reached his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 3 in August. Del Potro, now No. 4, will next meet Serbian Filip Krajinovic, who beat Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 6-3.

I'm happy to get in London after five years. Will be amazing moments for me. I will love to be part of that eight players, to make that event. Of course, it's a very special tournament for us,” Del Potro said.

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