December 11, 2013
TENNIS — PARIS MASTERSSaturday, November 2, 2013
Federer too strong for Del Potro
Argentine eliminated in quarterfinals; wins for Djokovic, Nadal and Ferrer
Roger Federer avenged last week’s loss to Juan Martín del Potro as he eliminated the Argentine from the Paris Masters quarterfinals after beating him 6-3 4-6 6-3. The Swiss will next face Novak Djokovic.
PARIS — Juan Martín del Potro was eliminated from the Paris Masters quarterfinals yesterday after losing 6-3 4-6 6-3 to Roger Federer, who will face Novak Djokovic in semis.
Federer, who had lost his last three encounters with the towering Del Potro including the Basel Open final on Sunday, defeated a top-10 player for the first time since January and will now feature in his second Masters Series semifinal of the year. The 17-time Grand Slam champion played nearly flawless tennis in the first set yesterday, making 17 winners and only four unforced errors.
“That’s definitely good for my confidence, because those are the kind of wins I need right now,” Federer said. “I’m happy now I won against a top-10 again, especially just before London where I will have to play against three top-10 players in a row.”
Djokovic beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-1 6-4 to claim his 15th straight victory.
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal also moved into the semifinals with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Richard Gasquet of France and will play defending champion David Ferrer, who rallied past Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 4-6 7-5 6-3.
The eight quarterfinalists at the Paris Masters are the same eight who have qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London next week.
Del Potro fought back in the second set, saving a break point in the opening game before converting his second break chance at 5-4 to level the match when the fifth-seeded Swiss netted a forehand.
In the deciding set, the Argentine sent a forehand into the net to drop serve at 3-3 and Federer won the match when Del Potro hit a forehand long.
Djokovic, who saved all six break points he faced, won 13 of 19 points at the net.
“Coming to the net is one of the improvements that I had recently,” the second-seeded Serb said. “It didn’t click so fast, trust me. I had to work and put in many, many hours on the practice court that you guys don’t see.”
Wawrinka lost five-setters against Djokovic at the Australian Open and the US Open this year.
“When he plays that good it’s very difficult, especially on this surface where he’s the best, I believe,” Wawrinka said.
Nadal improved his record against Gasquet to 12-0 despite a crowd cheering loudly for the only Frenchman left in the draw.
The Spaniard, who is seeking a record sixth Masters title in a single season, broke for a 4-3 lead with a crosscourt backhand return winner.
Gasquet struggled with his one-handed backhand against Nadal’s powerful groundstrokes and the US Open champion went a set up when the Frenchman made a backhand error.
Nadal took a 4-0 lead in the second set and finished off Gasquet by whipping a forehand winner down the line.
“Winning a match against him before the end of my career is going to be extremely difficult,” Gasquet said. “I would like to, but he’s getting better and better.”
Nadal has now a 32-2 record on hard courts this season, having been sidelined much of last year with a knee injury.
TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS. Ana Ivanovic wasted a 5-2 lead in the third set to lose 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-1) to Elena Vesnina in their last group match at the season-ending Tournament of Champions, but still advanced to the semifinals at the expense of her opponent.
Samantha Stosur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also secured spots in the semis, joining already qualified Simona Halep.
The sixth-seeded Pavlyuchenkova swept past Alize Cornet of France 6-2 6-2, while Stosur defeated Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1 6-4.