David Goffin has become the first Belgian player to qualify for the prestigious season finale despite losing to Julien Benneteau in the second round match in the Paris Masters. Juan Martin del Potro, too, continued his march towards a spot in the ATP Finals after defeating Robin Haase 7-5, 6-4.
Benneteau continued his dream run in the tournament and thrilled his home crowd on Thursday, eliminating seventh-seed David Goffin, 6-3, 6-3, to advance to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final since Shanghai Masters in 2014. But that did a little to affect Goffin's chances to qualify for the season-ending tournament as 16th-seeded Jack Sock guaranteed the Belgian's spot by defeating 17th-seeded Lucas Pouille, 7-6(6), 6-3. Now, Goffin will join World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, six-time champion Roger Federer, debutants Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, and former qualifiers Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic in the eight-man tournament at The O2 arena in London from 12-19 November.
Benneteau will play third seed Marin Cilic, who ended Roberto Bautista Agut's chances of qualifying for the year-end finale. Cilic beat Bautista Agut, 7-6(4), 6-2 to advance to the last-eight of the competition.
Meanwhile, Nadal’s first Paris Masters hopes are perfectly poised as he got the better of Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals. Cuevas certainly tested Nadal's resilience as despite trailing by a set and a break, the Uruguayan battled back strongly and broke back immediately before overcoming a 2-4 deficit in the second-set tie-break to force a decider. In the third set, Cuevas overcame a 0-3 hole to get back on serve, but Nadal's aggressive baseline play made sure that he booked a berth in the quarter-finals. In the quarters, Nadal will play qualifier Filip Krajinovic, who eliminated 10th seed Sam Querrey in the second round, ending the American’s hopes of qualifying for his first ATP Finals.
Juan Martin del Potro also continued his brilliant run in the Masters 1000 tournament as he defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-4 to secure a place in the Paris Masters quarter-finals for the third time. The Argentine, who was at No. 47 in the ATP Race To London prior to the start of the US Open, is now up to No. 10 on 2,595 points - only 20 points behind Pablo Carreno Busta (2,615), who sits in the last automatic qualification berth. Del Potro will now look to move past Carreno Busta with a victory over ninth seed John Isner, who saved a match point against Grigor Dimitrov to qualify for the quarter-finals.
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