WINSTON-SALEM, August 25, 2016
The road to the Winston-Salem Open title continued with the round 16 on Wednesday. Leading off play on Centre Court was top seed Richard Gasquet, who defeated with Stephane Robert, the oldest player in the draw. In the second battle between the two Frenchman on the ATP World Tour, it was the world number 15, celebrating his second victory in as many meetings, winning 6-1, 6-3 in 66 minutes.
“I’ve known Stephane for a long time now, so I know how dangerous he can be. It was a great win for me and I’m happy to be in the quarter-finals,” said Gasquet, who has yet to drop a set against the 36-year-old. “He likes to play close to the baseline. We’ve practised together often so I know his game and he knows mine. I didn’t make many mistakes today and that was the difference. It was quite humid and hot on the court, so it’s better to be able to finish in one hour.”
Gasquet will next take on John Millman, who rallied 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 against Bjorn Fratangelo. The 27-year-old Aussie hit nine aces, winning 81% of his first service points to prevail in one hour and 38 minutes.
“I’ve never played against John, but I’ve seen his matches and I respect him a lot.” Gasquet said.
The tournament’s number two Roberto Bautista-Agut advanced with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Marcos Baghdatis. The 28-year-old Spaniard saved eight of the 11 break points he faced, converting six of his own to finish the encounter in two hours and four minuts.
Next up for Bautista-Agut will be Yen-Hsun Lu. The world number 72 from Taipei eased past Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-0 in only 61 minutes.
“Fortunately I played really well on game points and on break points. My serve was there when I needed it and that helped me a lot today,” said Lu, who has made it into the quarterfinal of the Winston-Salem Open for the fourth time in a row. “I always seem to play very relaxed, very freely here. Maybe it’s something that is missing for me in other tournaments, but I’m able to find that feeling here.”
Fourth seed Steve Johnson was knocked out by Fernando Verdasco, losing 4-6, 6-7. The 32-year-old from Spain fired 10 aces and saved all three break points he faced to celebrate his fourth tour win over the US-American in as many meetings after one hour and 27 minutes.
Verdasco will next play ninth favourite Viktor Troicki. The 30-year-old Serbian took out with Sam Querrey the last US-American in the singles draw. Troicki lost his serve once but broke his opponent three times to secure a 6-2, 7-6 victory in 70 minutes.
“I would love to win the tournament. The competition is quite tough and it will be a different match tomorrow, but I will try to enjoy this,” Troicki told. “I’ve had some tough draws this summer. It seemed that everyone I lose to ends up winning the tournament. Last week it was Cilic in the first round of Cincinnati. I hope it’s my turn now.”
Andrey Kuznetsov, who made it into the third round with a walkover, benefited from the retirement of Jiri Vesely at 5-5 in the first set. The Czech suffered from an elbow injury. Kuznetsov will face Pablo Carreno-Busta, who knocked off third seed Pablo Cuevas, winning 6-3, 7-6 in one hour and 24 minutes.