ATP Basel 500: Preview Of The Semifinals

On an action packed quarterfinal day at the Swiss Indoor ATP 500 event in Basel, all four matches went the distance as the Frenchman Richard Gasquet; the only player with an outside chance of qualifying at London kept alive his slim hopes as he fought off a match point against the Croat Ivo Karlovic. Much to the crowd’s delight Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal stayed on course for a final showdown in what would be the 34th match between the two great rivals. They have been joined by Jack Sock who won against fellow American Donald Young in the first match on Friday.

Richard Gasquet must win at both the events in Basel and the one next week in Paris to stand any chance of upstaging David Ferrer or Kei Nishikori who are both tied at 7th position with 3,945 points in the race to London for the world Tour Final November 15-22 at the O2 arena. Gasquet who was at 2,535 points at the start of the week is the only player with a mathematical chance of being in the elite eight Field.

Apart from winning Basel and Paris he has to hope for a Ferrer or Nishikori early exit next week in Paris. He saved a match point at 5-6 in the tiebreaker in the third set and reeled off three straight points to clinch the match 6-4,6-7(2),7-6(6). Gasquet won in Estoril and Montpellier in 2015 and is now 4-0 this year in matches decided by a final set tie-break.

The third seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain overcame the loss of the first set against the 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia 4-6,6-3,6-3. It was the third consecutive three set match for Nadal who beat Lukas Rosol and Grigor Dmitrov in the first two rounds.

Gasquet has not taken a set of Nadal in their last eight matches dating back to the Toronto Masters in 2008. He has been consistent in 2015 and should finally manage a set in the semifinals at least. Nadal is 55-17 for the season, having won in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Buenos Aires in 2015. Gasquet is 41-15.

The American Jack Sock won his third consecutive match of the tournament against a fellow American as he overcame the loss of the first set to beat Donald Young 5-7,6-4,6-2. The 29th ranked Sock had eliminated Denis Kudla and John Isner in the first two rounds. The 23 year old Sock is now 35-16 for the year having won his maiden title in Houston in April. He was beaten by Tomas Berdych in the final in Stockholm, last week.

Next up he faces the local hero Roger Federer who defeated the eighth seeded Belgian David Goffin in a repeat of last year’s final 6-3,3-6,6-1. It was Federer’s third consecutive win over Goffin who will spearhead his country in the Davis Cup final on home soil against Great Brittain November 27-29. Federer has won this event six times with a record of 59-9 in his hometown Basel. He has a 56-9 record in 2015, having won titles in Brisbane, Dubai, Istanbul, Halle and Cincinnati.

The semifinal line up with my pick mentioned first and their head to head record is as under :-

Roger Federer (1) v. Jack Sock (-) ; Federer leads 1-0.
Rafael Nadal (3) v. Richard Gasquet (5); Nadal leads 13-0

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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