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