Basel SF previews and predictions: Federer vs. Goffin, Cilic vs. Del Potro

A blockbuster semifinal lineup in Basel features the top four seeds: Roger Federer, Marin Cilic, David Goffin, and Juan Martin Del Potro. Federer will continue his campaign against Goffin, while Del Potro–also in London contention–will face Cilic.

(1) Roger Federer vs. (3) David Goffin

Federer and Goffin will be going head-to-head for the sixth time in their careers when they clash in the semifinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Saturday. All five of their previous meetings–including two already in Basel–have gone Federer’s way. The Swiss prevailed 6-2, 6-2 in the final of this same tournament in 2014 and 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the 2015 semis. By far their most memorable affair came at the 2012 French Open, where Federer held off an almost awestruck Goffin 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4.

Now an established force near the top of the game, Goffin is in contention for a berth at the World Tour Finals. The 10th-ranked Belgian is an awesome 52-20 in 2017 with recent titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo. His fall surge has continued thanks to straight-set victories this week over Peter Gojowyczk, Hyeon Chung, and Jack Sock. Seeking an eighth Basel title, Federer has advanced with defeats of Frances Tiafoe, Benoit Paire, and Adrian Mannarino–dropping one set to Mannarino in the process. The world No. 2 will likely treat his subpar performance on Friday as a wakeup call and maintain his dominance over Goffin without too much trouble.

Pick: Federer in 2

(4) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (2) Marin Cilic

Whereas Goffin is already in position for a London spot and only improving his chances with his Basel showing, Del Potro still needs to put in some significant work to qualify for the year-end championship. The 19th-ranked Argentine has put himself in somewhat unexpected contention thanks to a semifinal run at the U.S. Open, a semifinal showing at the Shanghai Masters, and a title last week in Stockholm. Del Potro is still going strong with wins this week over Joao Sousa, Julien Benneteau, and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Up next for the No. 4 seed on Saturday is a 12th career showdown against Cilic, who trails the head-to-head series 9-2. They have not faced each other since a memorable matchup in the 2016 Davis Cup final, where Del Potro stormed back from two sets down to triumph 6-7(4), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 and lead Argentina to its first-ever title. Cilic, already in London with plenty of room to spare, is 42-17 this year with a runner-up finish at Wimbledon and consecutive semifinal results on the Asian swing in Tokyo and Shanghai. The fourth-ranked Croat opened in Basel by beating Florian Mayer and Borna Coric before surviving a 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(4) thriller against Marton Fucsovics. Cilic may be a bit fatigued and his record against Del Potro is far from stellar, but Del Potro has played a ton of tennis in recent weeks and he was hobbled by a back issue against Bautista Agut.

Pick: Cilic in 3

46 Comments on Basel SF previews and predictions: Federer vs. Goffin, Cilic vs. Del Potro

  1. Delpo and Fed in three.

    Cilic didn’t look convincing to me; Delpo when his game is on, can beat anyone. Cilic is not mentally strong like Delpo, I think Delpo will win this match.

    Goffin can get a set off Fed, unless his knee is giving him problem.

  2. I hope Delpo wins. What a fighter. Then he might lose the final and should take a long well deserved break.
    Federer has to be careful here. Unless he’s having some kind of issues, either phisical or motivational, he should win in 2. 7-6, 6-3.

  3. May be a shocker! But you are all on Alert especially you old man and legend Federer!lol

    Goffin to push Federer to 3rd set or push the over (luv this option)!

    Goffin can also upset Federer if he plays like he played against Mannarino! Goffin is a far better, younger(by 10 years) and solid player than Mannarino!

    Any brave and smart expert betting on a Goffin Upset or over games(my preference)!?

    • I am eating humble pie here as Federer outsmarted Goffin in all facets of tennis. Goffin tried to come back in the 2nd set but Fed just shut him off! Stupid Goffin tho higher ranked than Mannarino did not put enough fight of even a lower ranked player Mannarino who won a set and took fed to 3 sets! Goffin you are good but not good enough for fed, no doubt Fed is the “King of the Hard, I.Hard and Grass”! Did not put Roger in a straight bet (because of the high odds) but put Roger Fed(fake) in a multi-bet!lol

  4. Scoot are you meaning by….Cilic in straight that he will lose in straight sets! Then you have a genius pick! Then you didn’t read my lengthy analysis above telling why Cilic is a trashy player compared to Delpo and needs to be faded!Ha,ha,ha…

    “Fed in 3 and Cilic in straight…both are great match ups!”

  5. We got us another Federer-Delpo final! 🙂 They both destroyed their semifinal opponents. I honestly expected both of those matches to be closer. Goffin only won 3 games??

    • Federer will win in 2 sets the final. He seems in red hot mood 🙂 However he respects Delpo so wont be that straightforward.

      Goffin was carrying a knee injury I think..

      • I dont think anyone can challenge Fed right . Fed will win Basel and most probably WTF as well given his stranglehold on Rafa. He might win WTF without losing a set. I highly doubt he would play Paris Masters

        • Yes seems so far now but can never be sure what will happen in WTF…Rafa can catch fire or maybe Zverev too..other 5 in the draw in WTF have no chance..

        • without losing a set may be taking it too far. matches of 3rd RR and semi and finals are consecutive keep it up 6 straight sets back to back against top players is not easy

          • But Fed will start early. They usually give his group day 1 start. Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday will be the schedule for his RR matches. Lets see. But I dont see the likes of Goffin, Cilic or even Zverev challenging him.

      • He had that knee thing in periodically throughout the week. He said it was a “precaution”. It really didn’t matter whether he was injured or not- that was one of Federer’s best start to finish performances of the year, I believe. Goffin didn’t really even play that badly for much of it. Fed was just ripping constant winners and returning extremely well and not making errors. Nothing anyone can do when he’s playing that well on that kind of court. Maybe Novak if he’s playing really well himself.

        As for the final tomorrow, Delpo is a huge step up in difficulty for Fed compared to who he’s played thus far in the tourney. It would appear that I was wrong to think that Delpo would be extremely tired out. He looks fine haha. And his game style allows him to get quick free points on serve. I still have to give Fed the edge because he’s just been better than Delpo this year when he’s feeling fine. HOWEVER, I would not be surprised if Delpo won… Not even a little surprised. Even though Fed is arguably playing the best aggressive, fast-court tennis he’s played in his career, and he looked absolutely unplayable against Goffin, Delpo has truly been Fed’s cryptonite in Basel. And there is no reason at all that he can’t do it again tomorrow. And their Shaghai match was very high quality for much of it and it was quite close.

        So I’m going to predict Federer winning in 3 sets, but this one is pretty damn close to a toss-up… I’d say maybe 55%/45% in Fed’s favor. I’m just glad we are getting a third round of Fed-Delpo in Basel. Both their other finals there were really close and really great, even in 2013. I hope this one continues that trend of closeness!

        A side not about Paris- Not only will I be surprised if Federer doesn’t pull out of Paris, but I will also be surprised if Delpo is able to make it too far there. I wouldn’t be surprised if tried playing and then withdrew or retired from his first or second match there. Clearly I have underestimated his level of fitness, but I feel like he has to hit a wall at some point!? If he played Paris, that will be his FIFTH STRAIGHT WEEK of tennis, and he has made the semis or better of the last three weeks. Considering it’s the end of the year, he must be starting to run on fumes… It’s truly remarkable what he’s been able to do recently. He just doesn’t stop fighting. It would be such a testament to his greatness if he were able to beat Fed for the third Basel title.

        • Nah, if Delpo wins Basel, he will try his best to go as far as possible at Paris because he’ll have a good chance of qualifying for the WTF. He will probably lose in the SF to Rafa there, as Rafa will probably be the toughest opponent for him, tougher than anyone in his quarter, but that’s enough for him to qualify provided either Goffin or Tsonga won’t have more points than him.

          With two days rest in between tournaments, maybe Delpo will be fine playing at Paris. If Tsonga wins Vienna and gets to final at Paris, Tsonga will qualify; Goffin needs to at least get to QF to prevent Delpo from qualifying if Delpo wins Basel and get to SF at Paris.

          I’m assuming PCB, Querrey, Anderson and the others who have chances of qualifying, not winning or reaching final at Paris.

    • I wish he had at least this form at USO. I think because of his age, he needs so much time to recover between slams. Although this year he had a relatively ‘easy’ Wimbledon, it still took away lots of resources and USO was just too close, not to mention the fact that Montreal messed things up even worse.

      • Delpo’s beaten Fed twice in Basel to win the title. However, he really can’t have much left in the tank! Can he?

        • Delpo has more than enough in the tank and he is really playing well, R. Federer is the best and will defeat him.


        • Oh, he can! 🙂 I am done with assuming that Delpo is out of gas. He looks like he can play another 10 days straight haha. Seriously, though, he has to get worn out at some point, right?? I think he is just so deadly in fast and/or indoor surfaces that it doesn’t matter if he’s tired. As long as his right arm is not too tired, he can take the racquet out of anyone’s hand. I just really hope that, physically speaking, he looks as fine as he looked today against Cilic. It’s a little worrisome that he seemed to be having some sort of back issue in his QF match, hopefully that isn’t a big deal.

        • Delpo has more than enough in the tank and he is really playing well, R. Federer is the best and will defeat him.

          Roger will win Paris & WTF( Masters cup).

          If he wins this two titles will he be #1?

  6. No 1 is in Rafas hands not Rogers. People seem to forget this basic thing. Irrespective of how Roger plays, if Rafa makes it deep in Paris and WTF (atleast semis in both which will give him around 960 points) , he takes the number 1…If Roger skips Paris, Rafa maybe needing to win just 2 matches in Paris to wrap up No 1.

    • R. Federer will win Basel, Paris & WTF, he will be the #1 by the end of the season.

      R. Nadal will lose early in one of this tournaments, I don’t see him going too far in Paris or WTF.

    • There is no doubt this on this forum. Fed will most probably skip Paris. As Kevin said yesterday, the probability your guy is gonna finish this year no.1 is about 90%.

  7. The same thing happened in 2013 when people were focussing too much on Novak who was chasing Rafa..However the number 1 then too was in Rafas hands not Rogers. Rafa had to win basic minumum number of matches (finally came down to 2 RR WTF matches) to seal the deal and I think they ended the year with a 800 point difference with Rafa not even playing a slam (AO) and going out 1st round of Wimby.

        • Stanley, are you nuts man? There is nothing wrong with wanting your guy to finish #1, but you have to realize that it is at least not in Fed’s hands at all… Even if he were to win Basel, Paris, and WTF (which I will be SHCOKED if he plays Paris anyway), all Rafa would have to do would be to go relatively deep in both Paris and WTF. And given Nadal’s unusually good form for this time of year, and the relative lack of competition right now, it is highly unlikely that he will get knocked out early from both those tournaments. It’s just such a crazy long shot. And for someone who is so obsessed with Federer, I would think you would know his patterns well enough to know that skipping Paris is something he has done many times in his career, and he has way more incentive to skip it this year than he did those other years. In his interviews recently, he has spoken about Paris in a way that would suggest he is likely to pull out.

          You gotta realize, Stanley, that Fed accepted that getting to #1 became highly unlikely when he skipped Cinci and was not healthy for the US Open, which Rafa won. He also knew that by skipping the whole entire clay season as well, he would be making it extremely difficult to be #1. Just the fact that he is even as close as he is to #1 is just insane considering that (if he pulls out of Paris) he will have played only 4 out of the 9 masters titles AND skipped a major. The fact that he has been able to do so well while not even playing half the big tournaments is just a testament to how great his season has been. Also, he has a chance to end the season as undisputedly having the best season this year, despite being ranked #2. If he managed to win more Masters titles than Rafa AND the WTF, then it would be hard to argue that he didn’t have the best season, especially if you also consider his record against the world #1 Rafa this year. You should be happy with what your guy has accomplished this season, without being unrealisticly biased. You can admit that Rafa has #1 locked, barring injury, without betraying your love for Federer. Rafa could also end up winning Paris and/or WTF, thus helping to bolster his status as #1.

          • Am I hopelessly old fashioned? Or just simple minded? For me, the guy who ends up #1 is the one who had the best year.

            I have no idea why Roger would play Paris. Or, for that matter, really care about the WTF. Maybe he needs the motivation. No one really cares about the WTF except the ATP organization. It’s tennis to watch, but the round robin format is weird and it’s only 3 sets. Nice place for the Top 8 to pick up ranking points and $$, that’s about it. Seems rather unfair to me that they get a leg up on the next year when they’re already leading the pack. Didn’t they stop giving ranking points for Olympics and DC because not everyone could play there?

            • Well, Ramara, I think the players care quite a bit about WTF. Del Potro has made it clear that it’s very important to him to make it to that tournament. Rafa and Federer have alluded to it being the most important year end tournament for them.

              After all, if finishing #1 means you had the best year (and consequent bragging rights), then finishing in the top 8 means you were one of the best 8 in the world. And your reward is to play against the same guys, for prestige, points, and money.

              I think any current player would rather win the WTF than any (arbitrary) masters 1000. It falls between the slams and masters, in terms of points and prestige.

          • Yep, it’s in Rafa’s hands regardless of what Fed can or will do. All Rafa needs is go deep in Paris and WTF; doable given that the field is full of tired/fatigued players now and Rafa is in good form.

            I also doubt Fed would do well in B2B events given his age now.

          • Without skipping some events, I doubt Fed would win two majors and three Masters. Also, he’s helped by Djoko’s poor form and absence. It’s also a testament to how poor the field is, or rather weakened without Djoko, Murray, Stan, Kei and Raonic.

  8. @Stanley Roger cannot control rafa till they meet in the Final and if Rafa reaches both finals then no.1 is sealed in rafas favour.

  9. Sometimes few people who spam the same thing over and over again would do better if they use their brains a bit (if they have) before talking. No 1 in Rafas hands is not a statement on Roger at all. It just means Rafa has full power to control it as all he needs to do is reach semis in both tournaments if Roger chooses to play Paris. If Roger chooses to skip Paris, all he needs is win 2 matches in Paris.

    • I don’t think this is right, Sanju. Even if Rafa makes the final in Paris and the semi in WTF, Roger could still finish YE#1, if Roger wins the rest of his matches this year.

      If Federer wins Basel, it’s:
      1. Rafa 10465
      2. Roger 9005

      If Federer defeats Nadal in Paris final, it’s

      1. Rafa 11,065
      2. Roger 10,005

      Now suppose that at WTF Rafa wins 2 of 3 RR and finishes second in his group (gaining 400 points). Then (I believe), if Roger wins all 3 RR, they would meet in the SF. If Federer wins and goes on to win the final, it’s:

      1. Roger 11,505
      2. Rafa 11, 465

      • I doubt Fed would win B2B tournaments at this stage of the season. He was already making errors more than usual, it’s Mannarino who didn’t capitalize; Goffin simply was in awe of Fed, I mean he would rather stay at or behind the baseline to rally with Fed than came forward into the court and took the ball early which he would usually do.

        If Fed plays at Paris, he will face either Tsonga or Cilic in the SF, won’t he as easy as facing Goffin.

    • Actually, if Fed wins Basel, and then skips Paris, I think Rafa only needs to win 1 match. He gets a first round bye, correct? So it’s really just one match. 🙂

  10. If R. Federer plays Paris, I am sure R. Nadal won’t want to meet him.

    Rafa will lose early so that he can prepare for Federer one last time this year.
    If Federer doesn’t play paris, Rafa might win paris but I doubt he would.

  11. Rafa will go all out to win anything, after all it’s last two events of the year, and I doubt Rafa is scared of Fed; in fact I feel Rafa being fresh will have a good chance of beating Fed in Paris. Fed will be smart to avoid Rafa until WTF, to keep his winning streak alive and hope to keep his mental edge over Rafa until then.

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