Fognini & Bautista Agut Boost London Bids With Basel Victories
Fifth-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini continued to make his case for a maiden appearance at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, cruising past his opening test on Tuesday at the Swiss Indoors Basel against #NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin 6-2, 6-4.
”Tennis has started to change again with these young guys who are amazing on their first and second serves,” Fognini said. “But I’m happy because I’m 32 and still winning against some of them.”
Fognini racked up nine break points and converted five, in addition to winning 74 per cent of his first-serve points (29/39) to advance in one hour and 18 minutes. He’ll play a Serbian in the next round, either Stockholm runner-up Filip Krajinovic or Laslo Djere.
Fognini is currently 11th in the ATP Race to London with 2,235 points and trails eighth-placed Italian Matteo Berrettini by 290 points. The winner in Basel will pick up an additional 500 points and that could catapult him into one of the two remaining qualifying spots up for grabs. Berrettini is competing this week at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
Fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut also looks to clinch a debut appearance at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. He took an encouraging step towards that goal with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Romanian Marius Copil, last year's runner-up at this event.
Bautista Agut weathered 16 aces from the Romanian and continued to apply pressure with his returns, racking up 11 break points throughout the match. He scored the lone break in each set and finished the night with a tidy 28 winners to 24 unforced errors. The Spaniard is in ninth place in the ATP Race to London (2,485) and trails Berrettini by a mere 40 points.
Next up for Bautista Agut is Richard Gasquet, who weathered a late surge from Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero to advance 6-1, 7-6(4). The Frenchman, a two-time semi-finalist in Basel (2012 & 2015), picked up his first win over Londero (1-2) in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. All three of their clashes have taken place this year.