(November 4, 2013 LONDON – Juan Martin Del Potro got off to winning ways against Richard Gasquet in a top quality evening match to round off the first day’s action at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in Group B play.
From the first rally, it was clear that both players meant business, and initially it was Del Potro that looked the stronger, not losing a single point on his serve for his first three games.
It took just a momentary lapse of concentration from the Argentine to allow Gasquet to break him but Del Potro broke straight back as they battled their way to a first set tie-break.
Eventually the Frenchman edged in to take the lead as he competed in the season-ending finale for the first time in six years.
But the second set was a different story as some lapses in Gasquet’s concentration let Del Potro take control of the second set, taking it to a decider.
You felt that midway through the deciding set, it would be crucial for Gasquet to hold on to his serve, but a couple of double-faults handed the advantage back to Del Potro.
It took the tall Argentine two attempts to close out the match, as fatigue was setting in, but it was a great win and a fantastic start to the tournament 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.
“I tried to fight as much as I could,” Gasquet said of the disappointing loss. “And I, yeah, played well. It was a great match for me. I think I was really close to win that match.
“As I said, I tried my best. He did very good, too. It was a long match. Very tiring for me. I think he was just a little bit better than me.”
“A lot of pressure basically against Richard, because I think in my next two matches I will have nothing to lose,” Del Potro said. “If I was to pass the group, today match was the key to stay alive and with chances. That’s what I feel nervous.
“I think I never win my first match in the Masters Cup. It’s my first victory today. That’s also make me feel nervous.
“But now I’m feeling so glad to beat Richard. I’m still with chances to go through.”
Del Potro admitted that he was having problems with his focus, partially due to being robbed at a the train station in Paris on Saturday where he lost not only his passport but a rosary given to him by Pope Francis.
“Yeah, one of my things was the rosary,” Del Potro said. “But I have a few things which means a lot from my life. I don’t have it anymore.”
The Argentine, who is in the very competative Group B still has to play both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in round-robin play and talked about the challenge.
“Well, the next two matches going to be different, different opponents,”he said. “We play many times this year each other. I just beat Roger two weeks ago. He beat me last week. We always play good matches. So I will see against him.
And Novak is playing really well. Is unbeatable after the US Open. He won in Beijing, then Shanghai and in Paris also.
“So what I say before, I don’t have nothing to lose against them. It’s another good chance to play good tennis and get closer to the best of the world.”
Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals. Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.
ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS RESULTS FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2013
Singles – Group A Round Robin
 S Wawrinka (SUI) d  T Berdych (CZE) 63 67(0) 63
Singles – Group B Round Robin
 J del Potro (ARG) d  R Gasquet (FRA) 67(4) 63 75
Doubles – Group A Round Robin
 M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d  A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) 63 76(8)
Doubles – Group B Round Robin
 D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d  M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 61 64