Sunday, October 21, 2018

Roger Federer may get a chance to avenge U.S. Open loss at home in Basel

Roger Federer might have a chance to avenge his shocking fourth-round loss at this year’s US Open in the second round of the Swiss Indoors Basel, the 37-year-old’s home tournament.

If Federer, an eight-time champion in Basel, wins his first-round match against 2017 Paris finalist Filip Krajinovic, and Aussie John Millman defeats German Jan-Lennard Struff, the pair will meet for the second time in less than two months. Millman stunned Federer at the year's final Grand Slam, sending the No. 2 seed home after four tight sets.

Federer has long enjoyed success in Basel, holding a 66-9 record at the event and a 15-match winning streak. He has advanced to the final in his past 11 appearances at the tournament. The last time Federer did not reach the championship match was in 2003, when he was just 22 years old.

This will be the 98-time tour-level champion's 18th appearance in the Basel main draw, where he grew up as a ballboy. Federer first played qualifying at the event when he was 16.

Millman is enjoying the best season of his career, currently placed at a career-high No. 33 in the ATP Rankings. The 29-year-old is making his Basel debut. The first seeded opponent Federer could face is No. 5 seed Jack Sock. But the American is playing Ernests Gulbis, who beat him this week in Stockholm, in the first round. Gulbis is competing in Sunday's Intrum Stockholm Open final against #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

All eyes will be on a tantalising first-round match in the bottom half of the draw between third seed Marin Cilic and #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov. It will be the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, but an interesting stylistic clash between two players who like to control the match with big serving and aggressive play from the baseline.

Cilic is trying to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth time. The Croatian will enter the week sixth in the ATP Race To London, next in line to earn a spot at the season finale, to take place at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.

Also in the bottom half of the draw is No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev, who begins his tournament against Dutchman Robin Haase. While their FedEx ATP Head2Head series is knotted at 2-2, Haase has won the pair’s two most recent meetings, including a three-set win earlier this year at the Western & Southern Open.

In the same quarter as Zverev is former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, who is pursuing his first title since Geneva last year. Wawrinka will face Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who is competing in Sunday’s VTB Kremlin Cup final. The winner will face No. 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Portugal’s Joao Sousa, who triumphed in Estoril earlier this season

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