ATP Basel: Laaksonen joins Roger Federer in R2. De Minaur, Struff win


by   |  VIEW 3651
ATP Basel: Laaksonen joins Roger Federer in R2. De Minaur, Struff win

World no. 105 Henri Laaksonen scored his second victory in front of the home fans in Basel after the first that came in 2018, toppling Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5 in 67 minutes. The Swiss played better on both the first and second serve, fending off two out of four break points and taking 46% of the return points to secure five breaks from ten chances and seal the deal in straight sets.

Six out of nine games of the opening set offered break chances and it was Henri who used them more efficiently, delivering breaks in games three, seven and nine for a 6-3 and the momentum ahead of set number two. There, we saw nine commanding service games and breaks they traded in games six and seven, staying neck and neck until 5-5 when Laaksonen grabbed the final eight points to secure the triumph and the place in the last 16.

The 20-year-old Alex de Minaur earned the 29th victory of the season, beating a qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-1, 7-5 in an hour and 36 minutes. Both players had their chances on the return ad de Minaur was the one who had the edge in the pivotal points, suffering three breaks and stealing the opponent's serve six times from seven break points to move through in straight sets.

The Aussie fended off a break point in the first game with a service winner, earning a break in game two after a loose smash from Dellien and opening a 4-0 advantage with another break. Hugo had pulled one break back to reduce the deficit to 4-1 before Alex clinched another one at love in game six, fending off two break chances and taking four points in a row to claim the set 6-1 after a volley winner.

The Bolivian kicked off the second set with a 3-0 lead, taking 12 of the first 14 points and missing the opportunity to go 4-0 in front, with de Minaur fending off a couple of break points in the fourth game. The Aussie broke back in the fifth game but had to play from behind again after losing serve in game eight that sent Hugo 5-3 up.

The Bolivian wasted two set points behind the initial shot in the next game, sending the momentum to the other side of the net and suffering another break at 5-5 after an incredible rally that Alex brought home for a massive roar.

Serving for the triumph, the Aussie held at 15 for a 7-5 and the place in the next round where he plays against Alexander Zverev or Taylor Fritz. Jan-Lennard Struff needed 61 minutes to dismiss Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-2 for the second victory over the young Serb in as many matches.

The German landed 21 aces and repelled all three break points to mount the pressure on Miomir who couldn't endure it, facing nine break points and getting broken three times to propel Jan-Lennard into the second round.

Both players had their chances on the return in the opening games of the match and Miomir was in a position to open a 5-4 lead, wasting his opportunity in that ninth game and allowing Struff to steal the break in the next game for a 6-4.

The German lost four points behind the initial shot in set number two, rattling off the last four games to march over the finish line and deliver the 31st win on the Tour in 2019.