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Del Potro Takes Big Step To London

It was a big day in the Emirates ATP Race To London for Juan Martin del Potro.

After fellow Race contender Pablo Carreno Busta lost at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna, del Potro defeated Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4 at the Swiss Indoors Basel in one hour, 29 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals.

Juan Martin del Potro reaches the second round of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Wednesday.
With the Spaniard’s loss and the Argentine’s victory, del Potro can now move into the final qualifying spot for the Nitto ATP Finals if he goes on to win the title this week in Basel. While he can only gain a total of 480 points for the week, that would move him 10 points ahead of Carreno Busta’s total of 2,605.

"I'm not thinking too much about London. I just want to keep going and see if I can go far here," del Potro said. "Once I finish this tournament we'll see if I'm in good condition to play the next one. To me, playing at this level, it's very important, looking forward to the next season as well."

On 28 August, the Argentine was 47th in the Race. Del Potro is currently 14th in the Race, but the four players between himself and Carreno Busta either lost in their Vienna openers (No. 11 Sam Querrey and No. 12 Kevin Anderson) or are out for the season due to injury (No. 10 Novak Djokovic and No. 13 Andy Murray).

It was del Potro's second victory in two matches in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Benneteau, with the last triumph coming in 2013. The Argentine saved the only break point he faced, winning 89 per cent of first-service points in the win.

The forehand-lacing right-hander will next face sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who battled past American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6(1) on Wednesday. Del Potro owns a 2-1 advantage in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, including a straight-sets victory over the Spaniard in the third round of the US Open. Bautista Agut’s only victory came in a five-set thriller at the 2014 Australian Open.

"I did well. I played better than yesterday and tomorrow I need to improve a little bit more," del Potro said. "Bautista is one of the toughest guys in the draw and it will be a really, really high level match tomorrow."

Second seed and defending champion Marin Cilic extended his perfect FedEx ATP Head2Head record to 5-0 against fellow Croatian and #NextGenATP Borna Coric with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in two hours.

Cilic, who has already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, remains at No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings to London with his 41st match win of the year (41-17) and now plays Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics. The 20-year-old Coric will feature at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan from 7-11 November.

Source: https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/del-potro-cilic-basel-2017-thursday

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