Del Potro Moves Closer To Stockholm Defence
(sam., 21 oct. 2017)
Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro continued his late charge in the Emirates ATP Race To London with
a 6-2, 7-6(6) win against seventh seed Yuichi Sugita at the Intrum Stockholm Open on Friday evening.
“I just played good tennis in the tie-break,” del Potro said. “I found a way in the last point of the match and I got through in an important match and I’m glad to be in the semi-finals.”
The Shanghai Rolex Masters semi-finalist is now No. 16 in the Race with 1,975 points. Should he go on to advance to
his first final since his last visit to Stockholm, he will climb to 15th, and then 14th should he defend his crown, which would bring his total to 2,135 points.
While that may seem far behind the eighth and final qualifying spot for the Nitto ATP Finals, No. 7 Stan Wawrinka and No. 10 Novak Djokovic
have ended their seasons due to injury, and No. 13 Andy Murray has not played since The Championships, also due to
injury. Del Potro would be 470 points behind No. 9 Pablo Carreno Busta.
Del Potro could have faced another potential London qualifier in second seed Kevin Anderson, but Fernando Verdasco stalled the US Open
finalist’s bid with a 7-6(1), 7-6(1) victory.
“It’s a very tough tournament, even if it’s a 250, the draw is really tough,” Verdasco said of the Intrum Stockholm
Open. “Today it was an important match for me, also because it was the first time [I would] reach the semi-finals [in Stockholm] if I win and also because the last couple of months, I was not
finding my game.”
Verdasco had not reached a tour-level quarter-final since July in Bastad, when he lost in the semi-finals at the SkiStar
Swedish Open against David Ferrer. As the Spaniard said, Sweden may just be his lucky charm. Both Verdasco and
Anderson saved the single break point they each faced, but the left-hander controlled both tie-breaks with his aggressive forehand and overall baseline play.
Confronting del Potro in the semi-finals is not the luckiest draw, as the Argentine has proven to be in good form. However, Verdasco feels he is ready for the challenge, as he pursues his first
title since last year’s BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest.
“Very happy. Tomorrow is also going to be a very tough match, a very tough opponent,” Verdasco said. “But I’m very motivated, and I think I am ready to fight and try to win.”
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With Dad's Shoelaces, Tsitsipas Upsets Goffin
(ven., 20 oct. 2017)
Who needs shoelaces to win an ATP World Tour quarter-final?
Greek #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas was up against a motivated World No. 10 David Goffin in Antwerp, with the in-form top seed battling for a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals in November. Tsitsipas’ shoelaces on his left sneaker broke from sliding, and by the end of the
second set his replacement set did as well. It was no problem for the 19 year old, who had never been in an ATP World Tour quarter-final, and has qualified at his past five tour-level events. He
borrowed his father’s laces and went on to defeat Goffin, 2-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(4) in two hours, 33 minutes at the European
Open on Friday.
“I felt really happy that I could play this way. It’s a very important victory for me today,” said Tsitsipas, who has high hopes for the rest of the week and his future. “Keep my level at the
level I was playing today, maybe even better and things will come. They come with time.”
It was Tsitsipas’ first victory over a Top 10 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings after claiming his first ATP World Tour win just last week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters (d. Khachanov).
The 6’4” rising star maintained his hopes of qualifying for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, moving from No. 13 at
the beginning of the week to the No. 10 spot with 547 points. If Tsitsipas goes on to claim his first ATP World Tour title, he will sit in ninth, 65 points behind No. 7 Daniil Medvedev, who currently occupies the final automatic qualifying spot in the Race.
It was a tough blow for Goffin, who is in a battle to earn his London spot. The Belgian, who won back-to-back titles at the Shenzhen Open and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis
Championships 2017, is eighth in the Race with 2,750 points. And while he currently would be the seventh player to qualify because No. 7 Stan Wawrinka is out for the season due to injury, No. 9 Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 11 Sam
Querrey and No. 12 Kevin Anderson are all within 300 points.
Goffin had three break chances in the 16-point third game of the second set to gain what would have been a break, but he could not convert. And while Tsitsipas failed to serve out the match twice
— at 5-4 and 6-5 in the decider — he triumphed on his first match point in the final-set tie-break.
Tsitsipas will play fourth seed Diego Schwartzman, who beat fifth seed David Ferrer, 7-5, 6-2.
In the other half of the draw, No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his pursuit of a fourth title
(Rotterdam, Marseille, Lyon) this season by defeating compatriot Julien Benneteau, 7-6(5), 6-2.
It was Tsonga’s third win in his past four tries against Benneteau, after not playing his fellow Frenchman since losing to him at the BNP Paribas Open in 2014. Nine of 12 points in the tie-break went to the returner, and Tsonga carried the momentum of
winning it into the second set, breaking twice to advance to his fifth semi-final of the season.
Tsonga will play an opponent he has never faced in the final Belgian remaining in the draw, Ruben Bemelmans, who
clawed past Joao Sousa, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.
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