For Benoit Paire (photo), the Frenchman living in Geneva, this Thursday was a day to forget. He suffered the proverbial “early bath” in his match against tournament favourite Roger Federer (1:6, 3:6). Even clearer than the score was the difference in playing class during the ball exchanges. The Swiss showed his opponent what it comes down to. The bearded Paire’s colourful Lacoste shirt was the most attractive element on his part. On the day before the match, the Frenchman paid a visit to Basel’s famous biscuit temple, the Läckerli-Huus, and quipped that he would bring Federer some biscuits to the court. The fans in the sold-out hall once again experienced the Federer Express. What was absolutely outstanding was the pace at which the best indoor player hit the ball. His serves were also of crème de la crème variety. Federer served long and often with a lot of spin. Memories of his first singles against the American Frances Tiafoe surfaced again. In that match, Federer won all 21 of his 21 first serve balls. Long live the maximum. In the quarter final, the first seed will come up against the winner of the match between Denis Shapovalov (Canada) and Adrian Mannarino (France).
Closely observing augurs recognise that Basel, the pinnacle of Swiss tennis, could still see a repeat of the 2017 Wimbledon finals. The Croat Marin Čilić lost one set against his compatriot Borna Ćorić.