BASEL, Switzerland – Roger Federer improved his chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals when Richard Gasquet lost in the Swiss Indoors first round on Wednesday.
Fifth-seeded Gasquet, who won the Kremlin Cup title in Moscow on Sunday, lost 6-4, 6-2 to fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra. Paul-Henri Mathieu of France advanced to face Llodra by beating Denis Kudla of the United States, 6-4, 7-5.
Gasquet holds the eighth and final qualifying position for the finals in London, but wasted a chance to extend his ATP points lead over compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tsonga has skipped this week's tournaments ahead of the Paris Masters, which is the final points-scoring event.
Gasquet joins Tomas Berdych and Stanislas Wawrinka as London contenders, with the latter two having lost their opening match at Basel.
Federer, who occupies the sixth qualifying spot, can strengthen his position with each victory at his hometown event, which he has won five times. The third-seeded Federer plays his second-round match later Wednesday against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.
Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, the top-seeded defending champion, followed Gasquet on court in a first-round match against Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen.
Del Potro is already the only seed remaining in his half of the draw, which includes the 55th-ranked Llodra.