17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer (Bio) suffered his second consecutive loss in the Swiss Indoor Open finals to defending champion Juan Martin del Potro earlier today, and while he needed the win to clinch a spot in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, there is still hope for the 6-time champion to qualify for the prestigious tournament.
The 32-year-old Swiss comes into Paris ranked seventh in the Emirates ATP Race To London. He must defeat either South Africa’s Kevin Anderson or World No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny in the second round of the BNP Paribas Paris Masters to secure a late spot in the year-end championships. If he fails to do so, he would have to await the results in the main draw to see how the other competing players have done. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Stanislas Wawrinka and Milos Raonic are all still vying for a sport in the finals as well.
“I’m a winner type, I don’t take that much confidence from losing matches,” Federer said following his finals loss today. “I’m happy about the level of play, that it’s getting better, but it’s not in losses where I find my confidence. It’s in wins. I think the four matches previous gave me more than today’s match.”
Wawrinka and Gasquet, who are in eighth and ninth place respectively, will be looking to find their form once again following first-round losses in Basel last week. Gasquet, who who lost to fellow countryman Michael Llodra, will play Fernando Verdasco in the second round and is attempting to qualify for the first time in six years. He is also only 65 points ahead of fellow Frenchman Tsonga and they could potentially meet in the third round of the tournament to clinch the important spot. Wawrinka will play Feliciano Lopez who defeated Bernard Tomic and will need strong performances throughout the week in order to further his quest for his first year-end championships.
The 2011 Paris Open champion will have a tough opening match on his hands, particularly it he meets Youzhny, who upset David Ferrer earlier today in the Valencia finals. While this may be the case, Federer is a perfect 16-0 against the Russian dating back thirteen years and will likely find a way to secure a spot in the tournament. If he does, it will be his 12th consecutive appearance at the event, tying the record with Ivan Lendel for most successive appearances at the year end championships.