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Tennis - Basilashvili stuns ailing Del Potro for Beijing title

Tennis - Basilashvili stuns ailing Del Potro for Beijing title
Tennis - China Open - Men's Singles - Final - National Tennis Center, Beijing, China - October 7, 2018. Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia with the trophy after defeating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. REUTERS/Thomas Peter   -   Copyright  THOMAS PETER(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Nikoloz Basilashvili stunned an off-colour Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 6-4 in the China Open final on Sunday to claim his second trophy of the season.

Hamburg champion Basilashvili broke Del Potro in the third game with a series of powerful shots from the baseline before taking the opening set.

U.S. Open finalist Del Potro was clearly feeling the effects of illness as he struggled to move freely on the court during the early exchanges.

Del Potro, who has reportedly been fighting a cold, came out all guns blazing in the second set and relied on his big serves to match the world number 34 up to 4-4.

Georgia’s Basilashvili held firm, however, and got the vital break in the seventh game to close out the victory on his third match point in an hour and 39 minutes.

The 26-year-old Basilashvili, who saved all seven break points he faced in the contest, took his head-to-head record with world number four Del Potro to 1-1.

Despite missing out on a third title of the year, Del Potro can be satisfied with his performance in Beijing, as the 30-year-old qualified for next month’s season-ending ATP Finals in London, joining Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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