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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, October 27, 2017

Juan Martin Del Potro

Juan Martin del Potro edged Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, to charge into the Basel semifinals with his 17th win in his last 20 matches.

Photo credit: Shanghai Rolex Masters Facebook

A cranky back and rugged opponent couldn’t stop Juan Martin del Potro from stretching his fall streak.

Playing with black kinesiology tape snaking on his back, del Potro posted his seventh straight win at the Swiss Indoors.

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Controlling crucial points with his menacing forehand, del Potro defeated Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, charging into his third straight semifinal in Basel.

The 19th-ranked del Potro pumped eight aces with no double faults raising his 2017 record to 35-14.

Empowered by successfully defending his Stockholm title on Sunday, del Potro has reached the final four in four of his last five tournaments: US Open, Shanghai, Stockholm and Basel.

Since the start of the US Open, the 29-year-old Argentine has posted a 17-3 record sparking his hopes for a berth in the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month.

If del Potro captures his second Basel title on Sunday, he will move into the eighth and final position for World Tour Finals qualification. Del Potro will play defending Basel champion Marin Cilic for a place in the final.

Cilic fought off Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-6 (4), in a three-hour marathon match.

Breaking Bautista Agut’s serve in his opening service game, del Potro breezed through the first set dodging a break point with a backhand down the line while serving for the set. The 2009 US Open champion eventually closed the opening set with some aggressive serves.

Bautista Agut raced out to a 4-1 second-set lead.

The Spaniard’s backhand down the line was an important shot in his second-set surge. Bautista Agut slide a backhand winner down the line imposing a love hold for 5-2.

Trying to hit through his opponent, del Potro flagged a pair of forehands into net as Bautista Agut broke again to snatch the second set and force a decider.

Shortening points with net rushes, del Potro blocked a high forehand volley to withstand pressure and level the final set at a game apiece.

A cluster of three errors saw Bautista Agut gift a love break in the third game. Del Potro took a medical timeout after the game.

Shrugging that lapse off, the Spaniard came right back lashing a backhand down the line to set up a forehand drive volley, breaking back for 2-all.

Facing break point in the ninth game, Bautista Agut followed an inside-out forehand forward and knocked off a forehand volley to save it. Pouncing on a mid-court shot, del Potro pummeled a forehand winner down the line for a third break point in the game.

Opening the court with a two-handed backhand drive down the line, del Potro pounded another forehand winner breaking for 5-4.

Denying a break point with a crackling forehand down the line, del Potro thumped two stinging serves in a row to close a two-hour conquest.


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