The Basel 2017 draw has just taken place and after being pretty coy about what tournaments he would play after Shanghai, Roger is of course in the draw.
The big news from earlier this week was that Nadal has withdrawn due to a knee issue sustained in the Asian Swing. Not a big surprise considering he was taped up in Shanghai but a loss for the tournament and it seems Basel & Nadal just aren't compatible given a number of times he's had to withdraw over the years. Anyway, you can see Federer's projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponent
- Round of 32: Frances Tiafoe
- Round of 16: Benoit Paire / Steve Johnson
- Quarter Final: Adrian Mannarino
- Semi Final: David Goffin
- Final: Marin Cilic
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is the man who took Fed to five sets in this year US Open 1st Round, Frances Tiafoe. The American won a few matches in Shanghai but I can't see him causing too many problems here. He has some big shots but from what I saw of him at the Laver Cup, Federer wins comfortably.
Round 2 could then be one of the guys Tiafeo beat in Shanghai, Benoit Paire. He's not played much singles after retiring in Japan but he did make the final in Moselle prior to that. On his day he can play some good stuff and he looks like the type of guy who'd take sets off Federer in practice but on the main St. Jakobshalle court? I doubt it as he's too up and down. Steve Johnson is Paire's first-round opponent as well so it's 50/50 who comes through that. If the court is playing fast I fancy Paire but Johnson is going to compete hard which might be enough to get him through.
The Quarter Finals could then be another Frenchman, the underrated Adrian Mannarino. I actually think he's France's best player at the moment and although he doesn't have any huge shots he's got an unorthodox-looking game that gets the job done. He's still playing over in Moscow though at the Kremlin Cup so might not be the freshest. Shapovalov and Sugita are the other two who could come through.
The seeded opponent for the semi-finals is Goffin who Roger beat in the 2014 final. The Belgian looked tired in Antwerp where he lost to Tsitipas so I'm not sure what to expect from him but you have to think he's too good not to make the semis here. Haase, Cheung and Jack Sock are also in that section so maybe one of those guys can find some form.
As for the final Cilic comes in as the top seed and he played some decent stuff in Shanghai just coming up short against Nadal. He's also the defending champion and like last year he's got a nice path to the final with Del Potro the only Top 20 name in that side of the draw. Bautista Agut, Dolgopolov and Mischa Zverev are the other names that stand out as guys capable of causing upsets but I think Cilic will come through.
Expectations for Fed? Has to be the favourite based on Shanghai and his Basel history but the smaller events are usually wide open. In the Masters 500's he's played so far year he crashed early in Dubai, then won Halle but I like his chances. Which way do you think it will go? Let me know in the comments.