Lucky Loser Fights On In Sao Paulo
Spaniard vanquishes Bellucci
Lucky loser Roberto Carballes Baena continues to have a strong week at the Brasil Open, knocking out second seed and local favourite Thomaz Bellucci 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to reach his second ATP World Tour quarter-final (Casablanca 2014). The Spaniard needed to be patient to score his biggest win to date, as the second-round match had been slated for Wednesday but was postponed due to rain.
The 22-year-old Carballes Baena, a regular of the ATP Challenger Tour (36-23 record in 2015), won 80 per cent of first serve points and closed out the win in just over two hours. It was his second win over a player in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings (d. Sousa in Casablanca 2014) and a first quarter-final showing since reaching the semi-finals of Casablanca two years ago (l. to Garcia-Lopez).
Dusan Lajovic knocked out top seed Benoit Paire 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 in 99 minutes. Paire, who lost in the first round of his lone previous appearance in Sao Paulo (l. to Nalbandian in 2012), was playing on clay for the first time this season, while Lajovic already had six clay-court matches under his belt coming in. The Serb is into his second quarter-final in Sao Paulo, having advanced to the final eight last year.
“It was his first match [on clay] so he wasn’t feeling comfortable in the beginning,” Lajovic said. “But I played a perfect set. I didn’t give him anything.
“I knew he was going to play much better in the second set. I gave away a break at four-all, which wasn’t supposed to happen. But I kept my head in the third set and played more aggressively from the fifth game on, and it helped me win today.”
Advancing to the quarter-finals were third seed Pablo Cuevas and fourth seed Federico Delbonis.
Cuevas, who beat Rafael Nadal en route to the Rio title last week, improved to 3-0 in his FedEX ATP Head2Head rivalry against Facundo Bagnis. The pair had squared off in the first round of Rio just a few days ago, and Cuevas maintained his mastery of the Argentine with a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Delbonis needed two hours to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 against Diego Schwartzman. The left-hander was broken three times in the opening set, but did not drop serve the rest of the way. He finished with nine aces and improved to 2-0 at tour-level against Schwartzman.
Melo/Soares Ease Past Wild Cards
Top seeds Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares made a fine start to their doubles campaign in Sao Paulo, defeating wild cards Nicolas Almagro and Eduardo Russi Assumpcao 6-1, 6-3 in the first round. The Brazilians fired six aces and were not broken in the 51-minute win.
Third seeds Maximo Gonzalez and Andre Sa advanced thanks to a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory over Italians Marco Cecchinato and Paolo Lorenzi. Gonzalez/Sa won 91 per cent of first serve points and saved both break points faced.
Horacio Zeballos and Julio Peralta became the first duo to advance to the semi-finals after their 6-4, 6-3 victory over Brazilian wild cards Rogerio Dutra Silva and Joao Souza. The Argentine-Chilean duo claimed 82 per cent of first-serve points and saved the lone break point faced.