Basel QF previews and predictions: Del Potro vs. Bautista Agut, Goffin vs. Sock

David Goffin for the time being has a stranglehold on one of the last two World Tour Finals spots, and he will try to take another step when he faces Jack Sock on Friday in Basel. A hard-charging Juan Martin Del Potro has a quarterfinal date with Roberto Bautista Agut.

(6) Roberto Bautista Agut vs. (4) Juan Martin Del Potro

Del Potro and Bautista Agut will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and for the second time this season when they battle for a place in the Swiss Indoors Basel semifinals on Friday. They just faced each other in round three of the U.S. Open, where Del Potro cruised 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 and improved to 2-1 lifetime in the head-to-head series. Bautista Agut’s lone win came in a five-setter at the 2014 Australian Open, while Del Potro also prevailed 7-5, 7-6(4) at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 19th-ranked Argentine eventually reached the quarterfinals this summer in New York, upsetting Roger Federer before succumbing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. Del Potro has continued to put himself in outside contention for a World Tour Finals berth thanks to a semifinal showing in Shanghai and a title last week in Stockholm. So far in Basel he has ousted Joao Sousa 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 and Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4. Bautista Agut booked his spot in the last eight by beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-0, 6-3 and Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6(1). The 21st-ranked Spaniard is 47-19 in 2017 with titles in Chennai and Winston-Salem. At some point this heavy workload is going to catch up with Del Potro, and a rock-solid Bautista Agut may be the beneficiary.

Pick: Bautista Agut in 3

(3) David Goffin vs. (5) Jack Sock

Goffin and Sock will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers on Friday. Both of their previous encounters have gone Goffin’s way; via third-set retirement at the 2013 Winston-Salem event and 6-4, 6-4 last year in a Rome. Fast forward one season and Goffin remains the favorite in this matchup, as he may be in line for a second consecutive World Tour Finals appearance (he played one match at the O2 Arena in 2016 as an alternate). The 10th-ranked Belgian is 51-20 in 2017 and has made a major push of late with titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo.

Whereas Goffin has coasted in Basel (6-2, 7-5 over Peter Gojowyczk and 6-4, 6-1 over Hyeon Chung), Sock needed three tough sets against both Vasek Pospisil and Robin Haase. The 23rd-ranked American stormed out of the gates this season as one of the best players on tour, but he is a mere 13-15 in his last 28 matches after starting the year 18-3. Goffin’s impeccable defense and superior ball-striking from the back of the court will likely force Sock to go for too much and turn in an error-plagued performance.

Pick: Goffin in 2

39 Comments on Basel QF previews and predictions: Del Potro vs. Bautista Agut, Goffin vs. Sock

  1. Goffin in 2 Sock will get socked all over the court! Sock, book your flight back to Kansas City, right now….before the flight rates shoot up!lol

    Delpo in 3 Over here!lol

  2. God damn Delpo… He is killing himself with these constant 3-set matches! Assuming he gets this third set against RBA, what is he going to have left to face Cilic and Fed/Goffin/Sock?

    • DelPo has the break in the third set for 2-1. Luckily for him, the sets have all been pretty quick. He won the first against RBA 6-2, but then lost the second 2-6. What’s with the disparity in the score? Is he just completely sucking all of a sudden after the first set? Or did RBA suddenly play really well?

  3. I really want DelPo to win this match, not just because I would love for him to be at WTF, but also because I really want to see Delpo-Cilic semifinal!

    • I would be shocked if he doesn’t pull out of Bercy… The only way I won’t be surprised if he plays Bercy is if he loses before the final of Basel. Then I could see him playing Bercy. If he makes the final of Basel like he should, then I would be shocked if he doesn’t pull out of Paris.

  4. And because I can’t imagine Fed playing Bercy, then that would mean that year end #1 is all but locked for Rafa. If Fed skips Paris, there is only one possible way he could get to #1 this season- he would have to win Basel and WTF, and Rafa can’t win one single match the rest of the season haha. And that is like a 1 in a million chance that Rafa loses his first match in Paris and then loses all three of his round robin matches at WTF. So the only way for Fed to have even a remote shot at year end #1, he would have to win Basel, Paris, AND WTF (without any round robin losses), and Rafa cannot win Paris or WTF. So considering that it’s highly unlikely that Fed will even play Paris, I would estimate that Rafa has about a 90% chance of ending #1.

      • Kevin, at the same time if he wins Basel, why not playing Paris indeed? At least he can try…no pressure. If he fails, then he’ll forget about y.e.1 and focus on WTF. Rafa winning Bercy or WTF is not a sure thing also. On the other hand, maybe Fed should just have a proper rest and preparation for WTF, which is more important than year no.1
        Imagine Fed playing Bercy and losing to Rafa. That could take him out of the rythm right before WTF. Let’s see how ‘greedy’ is Roger 🙂

        • You make a good point, Eugene! If he has a shot at getting to #1 this season by winning Paris, and his body is feeling totally fine, then why not play it? I just think that at this point he way more concerned with making sure he is in good physical shape going into the biggest tournaments, i.e. the Majors and the World Tour Finals. I think that after the debacle that happened with choosing to play Montreal, he may be reluctant to play any tournament that doesn’t mean a lot to him. Similar to Montreal, he as actually relatively struggled in Bercy in his career, having only made the final one time, the year he won the title. I think he may have learned now that he should only play a tournament if he really badly wants to win it. And I’m not sure if winning Paris or trying to be year end #1 in 2017 are just not that important to him. Definitely not as important at this point as winning WTF for a 7th time. He has said that himself.

          The thing is, if he did play Paris, and made at least the final of Shanghai, Basel, Paris, AND WTF, but STILL didn’t get year end #1, then he would have ended up expending all this extra energy when it probably wasn’t necessary. I just feel like if I were Federer, and winning AO 2018 was my biggest priority, I would do everything possible to make sure I go into 2018 as fresh as possible, and so everything to minimize the risk of reinjuring the back. Winning/going deep in 4 tournies in 6 weeks would really put him at a significantly higher risk of hurting his back again before 2018 starts.

          • Agree Kevin. The comparison with Montreal is a very good point. He really doesn’t need it at this age, especially that he already won it and has different priorities. Now I’m sure he should skip Paris.
            Winning AO2018 would be a miracle. I don’t dare to dream yet.

      • Because it would be a pretty big risk to play 4 tournaments in 6 weeks, especially when winning that 4th and final tournament (WTF) is his biggest goal (according to him). I think it could significantly put him at risk of being too wiped out for the start of 2018 if he played that much.

  5. Rafa’s draw seems pretty easy. Fed’s it tougher (thank god). See Rafa winnning either Paris or WTF and ending world number one. Also think he will be very hungry for the AO title and might win that!

  6. Lopez, Sock, Theim, Goffin and Nadal. It’s one of the toughest draws you can get with most of the top 20 out

  7. Adrian Mannarino is hot. But not quite enough.

    Fun match to watch. And wish I could hang around and watch Goffin/Sock but have to get to an appt.

  8. Federer, ideally, should pull out of Paris to be fit for WTF. But if he loses in Basel – well, he should get through Goffin or Sock. But maybe Delpo will ruin the party in Basel 😀
    That was a shaky first set v Mannarino. Too much tennis is bad for Roger.

  9. I’m obviously not a mind-reader, but I am 99 percent sure he will skip Paris. That would be serious overkill for 36 year old, fragile back Fed. He said it himself that Paris is not that important to him, and that he only won it once because he either skipped it or was too tired to play it. The ONLY way I see him playing it at this point is if he loses his semifinal match in Basel. Even then, I would doubt it.

    He wants to win the WTF finals again, and he knows he would be the favorite to win it as long as he is fresh and healthy going into it. If I were a die-hard Fedfan, I would be PRAYING for him to skip Paris. The chances of getting to #1, which he would have to win Paris to accomplish, are way too low for him to justify playing Paris. If after Basel, all he plays is WTF and then Holman Cup before AO, he will be in the best possible shape he could be in for AO. And you know he’s gunning to defend that title just as much as Rafa is gunning to take it!

    Fed knew when he skipped 4 Masters events and Major this year that he would be significantly hurting his chances of getting to #1 this season. After Wimby, it obviously looked like he had the momentum to finish #1. But of course it didn’t end up working out, and he accepted that a while ago, especially after Rafa won Beijing and made final of Shanghai- that all but shut the door on the matter. Anyway, it Fed were to win WTF, that would set him up for having a great shot at getting to #1 next season.

    That’s how he got to #1 after Wimbledon 2012. He cleaned up the post-us open season in 2011, which gave him a solid base to build on in 2012. Obviously the difference between 2012 and now is that he not only played the clay season, but he won Madrid and made RG semis. Even though he didn’t win it, he still went deep at RG, and having consistently deep results everywhere is key to getting to #1, just like Rafa did this year. As long as Fed skips half the masters events in a season as well as an entire Major, it’s going to be difficult to reach #1. But let’s be honest here- it is seriously remarkable that Federer is even in slight contention for year end #1 considering that he will likely have only played 4 Masters and 3 Majors… Anyone who skips that much would never be even close to #1, but Fed won the majority of the events he played this season so far. It’s pretty crazy, really, especially given his age.

    I remember Agassi in his last season in 2006, when he was 36 years old- he could barely even move haha! Of course he was much rougher on his body and was much more of a straight-up baselines than Fed is these days. But Agassi was also the quintessential modern example of a Men’s player who played arguably their best tennis in their 30’s. But by 36, he was just so done. His body couldn’t even handle it. I just think that the aggressive style of play has helped Fed stay good at his age just as much as the limited schedule.

    • Well, all because Djoko was not playing well and played only half a season. Fed won’t be able to accomplish whatever he has accomplished with a fit and healthy Djoko around.

      Rafa at least played a full season, so more chances of being in the top two, if not no.1, with fit and peak form Djoko around. Djoko will spoil the party of Fedal; Fedal make hay will the sun shines. Both Fed and Rafa benefited from Djoko’s poor form and absence.

      I think it’s still a fit and healthy Djoko who could deal with peak form Fed and Rafa, maybe not so much on their best surfaces, but on his own best surface ie HCs. Come to think of it, Djoko is the only player who can dominate on any surface – Clay, grass, outdoor HCs (any speed) and indoor HCs. Rafa couldn’t dominate on non clay, and Fed couldn’t dominate on clay.

      • Yes and Djoker knows how to win big matches. The only player who has beaten Fedal in each of the respective majors. Thats some feat !!

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