Vastavam web: Roger Federer reached the Basel quarter-finals for the 15th time when he steamrolled Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 as the top seed stepped up his campaign for an eighth Swiss Indoors title.Federer defeated Paire for the fifth time without a loss, mowing down the challenger in just 57 minutes in front of a sympathetic audience at the St Jakobshalle yesterday.The 36-year-old Federer, winner of his last event in Shanghai this month, is seeking an ATP-leading seventh trophy this season as he aims for the weekend final in his hometown.
Federer ripped through the opening set and piled on more pressure in the second after Paire took a massage treatment on his back after losing the opener.World number two Federer remained in command as he broke Paire to love in the seventh game, with the French player sending down his second double fault to drop the game.Federer made it a comfortable 5-3, with Paire sending a return well wide. The 19-time Grand Slam champion Swiss earned a match point in the ensuing game, which his opponent saved with a service winner.Defending champion Marin Cilic beat Croatian compatriot Borna Coric 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a two-hour struggle to move to 5 -0 against his younger countryman.
Fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro edged closer to a spot at next month’s ATP Finals as he dispatched French qualifier Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4.Del Potro won the Basel title in 2012 and 2013, beating Federer in both of those finals.”I’m tired, but I’m still winning and playing good tennis,” Del Potro said. “This keeps me motivated to keep going.Del Potro went into the Basel tournament 470 points adrift of Pablo Carreno Busta in the final qualifying place, with 500 points on offer in Basel before the final Masters 1000 event of the season next week in Paris.
He wasted little time in seeing off 93rd-ranked Benneteau, hammering 12 aces.The 29-year-old saved the lone break point he faced while breaking his opponent twice to secure a 34th win of the season.