Del Potro Moves One Step Closer In Paris
Argentine favourite to next meet Isner
Update 9pm EDT - Following the completion of Thursday's play in Paris, Juan Martin del Potro will qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals if he beats John Isner in Friday's quarter-finals at the Rolex Paris Masters.
Juan Martin del Potro continued his march towards a Nitto ATP Finals spot on Thursday when he defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-4 for a place in the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals for the third time (also 2009, 2013).
The popular Argentine, who was at No. 47 in the Emirates ATP Race To London prior to the start of the US Open, is now up to No. 10 on 2,595 points — only 20 points behind Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta (2,615), who sits in the last automatic qualification berth.
Del Potro, the No. 13 seed this week, has gone 20-4 since 28 August and will now look to move past Carreno Busta with a victory on Friday over ninth seed John Isner of the United States.
“It’s extra motivation to me,” said del Potro, when asked about the battle to qualify. “It's going to be a good battle next round trying to qualify for London… Of course, I would love to reach London for once again. It could be a fantastic moment for me. But it’s still a really hard challenge to me.”
In recent weeks, Del Potro has captured his 20th tour-level title at the Intrum Stockholm Open (d. Dimitrov) and finished runner-up at the Swiss Indoors Basel (l. to Federer). He has a 38-15 mark on the season.
The 29-year-old Del Potro has qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals on four previous occasions (2008-09, ’12-13), highlighted by a run to the 2009 title match (l. to Davydenko). The season finale begins at The O2 in London on 12 November.
Isner is also still in the running for a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals, which would be his first appearance at The O2. However, he must win the title in Paris to have a shot. A finalist last year, Isner maintained his faint hopes by saving a match point to oust sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6(10), 5-7, 7-6(3).
The Bulgarian, who already earned his first trip to the year-end finale, gained a 5-2 lead in the deciding set, and held one match point on Isner's serve. He then failed to close out the match on his own serve, allowing the big-serving Isner back into the match. The American is into his third Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season (Rome, Cincinnati).
Spain’s Fernando Verdasco recorded his second victory over a Top 10 player this year when he knocked out fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 in 84 minutes. He will next play American No. 16 seed Jack Sock or No. 17 seed Lucas Pouille of France, who both have an outside chance of qualifying for the season finale.