Sport24.co.za | Federer routs Tiafoe in Basel opener
Basel – Roger Federer thrashed American teenager Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday as the top seed began his week at the Swiss Indoors with a resounding first-round victory.
Federer, who won in a stroll over Rafael Nadal just over a week ago in the Shanghai final, continued his top form in front of the local crowd at an event he has won seven times.
The 36-year-old Swiss, who has competed in a dozen Basel finals, made quick work of his 19-year-old opponent, who had taken him to five sets in this year's US Open first round.
Federer will next face France's Benoit Paire, a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) winner over American Steve Johnson.
As a result of his loss, Tiafoe was knocked out of the points race to the inaugural edition of the Next Gen Finals in Milan, reserved for players under 21.
Two more seeds joined Federer in the second round, with number three David Goffin defeating German Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 7-5, and fifth seed Jack Sock of the US rallying past Canadian Vasek Pospisil 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-5.
Argentine Leonardo Mayer knocked out number eight seed Mischa Zverev 7-5, 7-5.
Against Tiafoe, whom he also defeated last March in Miami, Federer wasted no time in establishing domination of the young gun.
The Swiss quickly rolled 4-0 ahead, with Tiafoe finally earning a game after 21 minutes of play.
Federer then produced a love game and closed out the set in 29 minutes on his first set point.
Tiafoe's resistance stiffened slightly in the second set, with Federer achieving the break in the eighth game for 5-3 before wrapping up victory in 61 minutes.
Juan Martin del Potro, the winner in 2012 and 2013, said he is hoping to build on his recent momentum as the injury-plagued Argentine bids to snatch a place for next month's ATP Finals in London.
The former US Open champion said that the left wrist on which he fell hard a fortnight ago in a Shanghai semi-final loss to Federer is not giving him problems.
The 29-year-old is seeded fourth at the St Jakobshalle and showed that his fitness problems are behind him by beating Grigor Dimitrov to win his second straight Stockholm Open title at the weekend.
He will start his Basel campaign against Portugal's Joao Sousa on Wednesday.
"I just want to keep winning events," Del Potro said.
"I'm not thinking of London, it was not one of my goals this year. I know I'm getting closer, I'm just fighting to win all my matches.
"My goal is to play a good tournament here. I will see how far I can move (in the points race to London).
"I must also see how I feel for Paris (next week's final Masters tournament of the season). I will be playing for four straight weeks, that's something I've not done for three or four years."
Del Potro, who has undergone multiple wrist surgeries and missed months of play in recent seasons, stands a provisional 14th in the points chase with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Out of the possible qualifiers he stands 11th, as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have all ended their seasons due to injuries.
Del Potro is 470 points behind Pablo Carreno Busta, who currently holds the eighth and final spot for London, with 500 points available to the Basel champion.
"My goal for the year is to play healthy, I think I'm doing well," Del Potro said. "I've been playing without pain in the wrist ever since Shanghai.
"Playing without pain is the most important thing for me. I've also been improving my backhand.
"I'm playing good tennis, but I can play even better if I feel strong with my body."