Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro (Player Profile) will continue his bid for a second consecutive title in Basel when he meets crowd favourite Marcos Baghdatis (Player Profile) in the second round of the Swiss Indoor Open. The “Tower of Tandil” holds a 3-2 lead in the head-to-head series.
The top seed defeated Swiss wildcard Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Basel tournament. The Argentine looked relaxed in his opening round performance as he struck four aces and won 27 of 33 points on his first serve to win the match in 79 minutes. He has had an impressive year on the tour as he won three ATP singles titles and reached the finals of two Masters 1000 tournaments (Indian Wells and Shanghai). His run in Shanghai was particularly impressive as he ended Nadal’s undefeated hard court record in 2013 with a semi-final victory. Del Potro is defending points in this tournament as he toppled local hero Roger Federer in a fantastic contest in the finals last year. With both competitors still in the draw, a possible rematch is not out of reach.
Del Potro holds a 44-13 record this season with 34 wins on hard courts. He has only been defeated once on an indoor surface this season.
After a promising US Open run, that saw him reach the third round for the first time in Flushing Meadows, Marcos Baghdatis has been unable to string together consecutive victories on the tour. He has alternated between first and second round exits in the last four tournaments and will be looking to break that streak in his upcoming match against the Argentine. The Cypriot, who reached the final in Basel in his 2005 debut, defeated qualifier Benjamin Becker 7-6(8), 6-1 to advance to the second round of the ATP 500 tournament. He was able to capitalize on three break point opportunities to close out the match 92 minutes.
The World No. 5 is undefeated this year agains the Cypriot, having beaten him on three separate occasions, including several weeks back in Tokyo where he eventually won the title. All six of their previous encounters have been on hard courts and have generally been competitive match-ups. On several occasions, including Dubai earlier in the year, only a third set tiebreak could separate these two entertaining athletes. It will be interesting to see if Baghdatis is motivated to topple the Argentine for the first time in almost two years.