In the second match of the day at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals seed number four Juan Martin del Potro turned around the encounter against eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet to secure his first victory in Group B in London. The players had no problems holding their serves until the eighth game of the opening set when the Frenchman converted on the second break point, yet his opponent replied in the same fashion and the opener would be decided in the breaker. Gasquet was more concentrated at the end of the thirteenth game and sealed the set after two consecutive mini-breaks.
Delpo’s reaction was soon to follow as he broke the French number one early in the second set and escaped to 4-1. A couple of opportunities to level the terms on the rival’s serve went begging and the Argentine was almost punished for it in the subsequent game when Gasquet missed a rather easy smash which would allow him to go 15-40* up. As it turned out, he would not be granted any more chances to save the set and prevent a decider.
In the final set Delpo seemed to have seized a crucial break in a nearly 8-minute-long seventh game, yet the drama at the O2 Arena had not reached its peak just yet. Serving for the match at 5-4, nothing has really worked out for the recent Basel conqueror as he went 0-30 down before double-faulting to gift Gasquet a triple break point and ultimately surrender the service game by netting a volley. He recovered immediately, though, and restored his one break lead – this time he was assured on his serve and won his initial London 2013 battle 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-5 after firing a service winner. The 25-year-old from Tandil has beaten the Frechman six times in their seven meeting on the tour.
“He’s one of the best players I know,” Gasquet stated. “I tried to fight as much as I could and I played well. It was a great match for me. I think I was really close to winning that match. It was a long match [and] very tiring for me. I think he was just a little bit better than me.”
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