Basel, Switzerland (SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning champion Juan Martin del Potro posted an opening-round victory Wednesday at the $1.955 million Swiss Indoors tennis event.
The top-seeded former U.S. Open champion handled Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-4 at St. Jakobshalle.
Del Potro upset Swiss icon, five-time titlist and four-time Basel runner-up Roger Federer in last year's marquee finale here.
The formidable Argentine del Potro's second-round opponent will be former Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis, who was a Basel runner-up in 2005.
Meanwhile, Michael Llodra ousted fifth-seeded fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2 in an opening-round affair, and a second-round upset came when Croat Ivan Dodig humbled sixth-seeded 2011 Basel runner-up Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-2. The U.S. Open semifinalist and world No. 9 Gasquet is still battling for a spot in the season-ending, eight-player ATP World Tour Finals in London next month. He was last week's titlist in Moscow.
In some other first-round play, Canadian Vasek Pospisil vaulted past last week's Vienna runner-up Robin Haase 6-4, 6-4 and Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu got past American fellow qualifier Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-5.
The 2013 Basel winner will earn $475,000.