The fight for the remaining few places at the World Tour Finals hots up this week with two ATP World Tour 500 events on European indoor hard courts. The Swiss Indoors in Basel is in its 44th edition this year and there is no surprise with who holds many of the records at this tournament. Roger Federer (Player Bio) is a nine time finalist, including the last seven, and has won the title five times. He lost to Juan Martin Del Potro (Player Bio) in a third set tiebreak last year. Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play the event but has withdrawn, citing fatigue.
Full Draw HERE: ATP Basel 2013 Draw
Del Potro takes the No.1 seed spot this year and will play a Swiss player in the first round in Henri Laaksonen. Laaksonen has been involved with the Davis Cup team this year and has a win over Jiri Vesely but otherwise has failed to make much of an impact on the Challenger Tour, never mind the main tour with just two winsover Antonio Veic and Younes Rachidi at the top level. Del Potro will look to improve his record to 4-2 over Marcos Baghdatis, assuming the Cypriot defeats a qualifier that includes the likes of Benjamin Becker and Tobias Kamke.
Fresh off a title in Moscow, Richard Gasquet (Player Bio) seeks more points to ensure he moves into that all important top 9 for a definite spot at the World Tour Finals. An opener against Michael Llodra, who excels on indoor hard courts, is one of the tougher matchups although he leads the head to head 5-1. With a qualifier awaiting in the next round, he will be fairly confident of making the quarter finals should he defeat Llodra.
Although currently ahead of Federer in the race, Stanislas Wawrinka (Player Bio) is yet to overtake him in the rolling rankings. A deep run here would further improve his chances of becoming year end Swiss No.1 – he is currently 5 points ahead in the race. He has never really excelled indoors but his quarter looks very comfortable and he should make the semi finals. He is scheduled to play Edouard Roger-Vasselin although the Frenchman’s withdrawal in Moscow may put this in doubt. Wawrinka leads the head to head 2-0 including a win in Chennai last year. The winner will play Victor Hanescu or a qualifier, who will fancy their chances against the Romanian.
Seppi (Player Bio) was the beneficiary of that withdrawal in Moscow but would lose in the semi finals to Mikhail Kukushkin. The Italian is seventh seed but looks likely to make a quarter finals once more. Daniel Brands is 0-2 against his first round opponent Seppi and with Lukasz Kubot or Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the next round, progress looks fairly straight forward. If Seppi makes it to a projected quarter final with Wawrinka, he will have to improve on his 5-9 record against the Swiss which includes three losses indoors.
Last year, Federer was world No.1 and top seed at this tournament but has fallen to No.6 and is third seed this week. Winning the title here would put some distance between himself and the chasers for the WTFs. He has had surprising losses this year but the first two rounds look fairly straight forward for him. He is 3-0 without dropping a set against Adrian Mannarino while likely second round opponent Denis Istomin is 0-4 against him.
Grigor Dimitrov (Player Bio) could well have a chance to face Federer this week and comes into the tournament in good form after taking the title in Stockholm with a win over David Ferrer in the final. To make the quarters he will have to face Radek Stepanek who is always a different opponent indoors while Alexandr Dolgopolov is one of the tougher unseeded opponents. The Ukranian must first defeat Kenny de Schepper. The Frenchman has struggled at times but had an impressive victory over Kevin Anderson in Stockholm.
Sixth seed Kei Nishikori (Player Bio)was a finalist in 2011 after becoming one of the select few to get the better of Novak Djokovic in his extraordinary season, handing out a bagel in the deciding set. He opens against Swiss wildcard Marco Chiudinelli who has lost all three main draw matches last year although he was a winner in round one of this tournament against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez last year. Nishikori should be too much for the Swiss and has either Carlos Berlocq or Ivan Dodig in round two. Berlocq does lead the head to head 2-0 but both matches were on clay.
Tomas Berdych (Player Bio) rounds off the draw as second seed and opens against Ivo Karlovic. The Croatian is 2-2 against Berdych and they have split the two indoor meetings although the last one was as far back as 2008. Berdych has failed to pick up an indoor title after winning Montpellier and Stockholm last year, losing two finals. He will face either Vasek Pospisil or Robin Haase should he defeat Karlovic. Haase failed to hold his nerve in the Vienna final, losing from a break up in the deciding set.
SF: Stanislas Wawrinka def. Juan Martin Del Potro
SF: Roger Federer def. Tomas Berdych
F: Roger Federer def. Stanislas Wawrinka