After he lost to Roger Federer in the second round a year ago, Jan-Lennard Struff is through to the first quarter-final in Basel, beating Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 17 minutes. Despite serving at 52%, the German fired 12 aces and fended off the only break point he faced in the first game of the match, serving well after that and mounting the pressure on Laaksonen who got broken once in each set to finish his campaign in front of the home fans in the second round.
Jan-Lennard forged the advantage with a break in the eighth game of the opening set, earning another at 3-3 in set number two and bringing the victory home with two solid holds for the place in the last eight. For the first time in a career, Alex de Minaur will finish the season with at least 30 ATP wins, taking down Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 15 minutes for the third victory over the American in as many matches.
Dropping 15 points in nine service games, Alex got broken once from the only opportunity offered to Taylor who failed to repeat what he showed against Alexander Zverev in the first round, landing only 42% of the first serve in and suffering four breaks from ten chances he had to play against.
It was a flawless performance from the Aussie in the first set, delivering one good hold after another and forcing an error from Taylor to move 4-3 up before sealing the set with one more break in game nine. De Minaur had the upper hand in set number two as well, scoring a break at 2-1 with a smash winner and moving 4-1 in front after a service winner, marching towards the finish line.
Fritz stopped that avalanche a little bit when he pulled the break back in game seven thanks to a loose backhand from de Minaur who recovered instantly, landing a volley winner to steal the opponent's serve and gained a 5-3 advantage before hitting a service winner in the ninth game that propelled him through.
Frances Tiafoe needed 76 minutes to dismiss Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-2 and make a winning start, saving six out of seven break points and seizing four chances on the return to rattle off 11 of the last 13 games and book the place in the second round.
The Briton took 20 of the first 26 points to march into a 4-1 lead, with three more opportunities for a break in the sixth game. Out of sudden, the American got out of jail and gathered massive momentum, taking all five games until the end of the set, including breaks in games seven and nine for a 6-4 and never looking back in set number two, adding two more breaks to his tally to find himself over the top.
Competing in Basel for the first time since 2016, the 7th seed Stan Wawrinka ousted Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-4 in 66 minutes, firing ten aces and losing nine points in ten service games to offer his rival not even a glimpse of a break point.
On the other hand, the Uruguayan had to give serve away twice, at 1-2 in the opener when his volley landed long and in the third game of the second set following a bullet from Wawrinka's return that he failed to control.
The Swiss barely lost a point on serve in set number two, crossing the finish line with an ace in game ten for the 12th victory in front of the home fans. A qualifier Ricardas Berankis toppled Pablo Andujar 6-1, 6-1 in 68 minutes for only the ninth ATP win of the season.
The Lithuanian never lost serve and pushed the Spaniard to the limits, stealing almost 60% of the return points and converting five out of 12 chances to stand strong from start to finish. Filip Krajinovic played well against Federer here a year ago and made a perfect start in 2019 as well, ousting Laslo Djere 6-1, 6-4 in 54 minutes.
Filip never experienced troubles in his games, giving away seven points behind the initial shot and notching three breaks that carried him over the top in no time at all. The 6th seed and a former finalist David Goffin sent home 2016 champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 12 minutes to keep his chances of reaching the ATP Finals alive.
It was the first win for David over the struggling Croat since 2016, losing 12 points on serve and getting broken once. Marin couldn't produce that level, hitting too many errors and playing some loose service games in the opening stages of both sets to suffer another loss this season and make it even worse.