The popular Argentine, No. 16 seed this week, recorded his fourth Top 10 victory of the season by knocking out third-seeded German Alexander Zverev, who struck 22 aces, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes. The 29-year-old del Potro is now 4-9 in 2017 against players in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Del Potro, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final at the Qi Zhong Stadium in Shanghai, will next meet Viktor Troicki of Serbia on Friday. The Serbian defeated 12th-seeded John Isner 6-4, 7-6(4), hitting 30 winners to just four unforced errors to advance to his first quarter-final in Shanghai.
“One of my goals for the next year is just to play a whole year — around 20, 22 tournaments would be great for me,” admitted del Potro. “If my level continues improving, I will get closer to the top guys. But it’s not easy. I have made a big effort after all my injuries to play tennis, but I think I’m doing well.”
#NextGenATP Zverev started in aggressive fashion racing to a 3-0 lead, before del Potro found his rhythm in the second set that he won on a tie-break. Del Potro broke in the fifth game of the decider and although he could not convert two match point chances on Zverev’s serve at 5-3, 30/40 and Ad-Out, minutes later he sealed his 27th match win of the year (27-13 overall record).
“I think he played a great match, maybe one of the best of the season,” said Zverev. “I think we both played pretty well from the baseline. I don’t know what I could have done better, but for me… in my eyes I did a horrible job maybe returning or getting the points going on his serve.”
Zverev, who has already qualified for both the Next Gen ATP Finals (7-11 November) and the Nitto ATP Finals in London (12-19 November), is now 51-18 on the season. He has lifted five trophies in 2017 — at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, the BMW Open by FWU in Munich (d. Pella), the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (d. Djokovic), the Citi Open in Washington D.C. (d. Anderson) and the Coupe Rogers in Montreal (d. Federer).
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