Aching Del Potro soldiers on into Basel semi-finals

Basel, Two-time Swiss Indoors champion Juan Martin del Potro survived a battle with Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on Friday to move to his third straight semi-final of the season.

Fourth-seeded Argentine del Potro will wait for a Saturday opponent as second seed and defending champion Marin Cilic takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Top-seeded seven-time champion Roger Federer was playing Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, with the Swiss holding a 4-0 lead in that series.

Del Potro, now suffering with minor pain after a long stretch of matches, reached the semi-finals this month in Shanghai and won a second Stockholm title last weekend in a late-season hot streak.

He spoke with the trainer at one point about back pain, but the niggle did not stop him from continuing the match.

“I have pain in my back, hips, knees, wrist,” he said. “I’ve been playing a lot of matches: but I can still stand, so that’s a good thing.

“But I’m not putting my body at risk if I play tomorrow or next week (Paris Bercy). I speak a lot about fitness with my team. There is no risk to keep on playing.”

“I will be ready for Saturday, it will be a challenge for me, I’m glad to reach the semi-finals of this event again.”

The Argentine has a chance to qualify for next month’s eight-man ATP Finals in London should he lift a third Basel title to go with the pair he won over Federer in 2012 and 2013.

Del Potro found himself struggling in the third set after sixth seed Bautista Agut had levelled the match at a set each through two breaks in the second set.

The South American put his nose ahead for good as he broke for 5-4 to end a game lasting for more than seven minutes and served out the victory a game later on his first match point.

Del Potro’s win was his 17th since the US Open.

Source: Ghana News Agency