CHENGDU, September 28, 2018 (Press Release)
Italian world No. 13 and tournament top seed Fabio Fognini made a winning start here in the second round of the Chengdu Open 2018 as he defeated qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 7-6(2) in one hour and 35 minutes on Centre Court.
Fognini, who is gunning for his fourth ATP 250 title after triumphs at Sao Paolo, Bastad and Los Cabos this year, served up seven aces, converted 79% of his first service points and saved two out of the three break points he faced to set up a quarterfinal showdown against sixth seed Matthew Ebden.
“The first match is always difficult, so I’m happy to be in the quarterfinal here in my first time at Chengdu. It will be a tough match for sure (against Ebden). I have to believe in myself, try to do my best and we will see what happens. But for sure, it will be tough,” said the 31-year-old, who has never met the Aussie on tour before.
Earlier in the day, world No.47 Ebden defeated another Italian, 22-year-old Matteo Berrettini, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3) in exactly two hours to make his fourth quarterfinal of the year.
There was little that separated the two players throughout the encounter, with both of them converting one break point out of the four opportunities they each created, but it was the more experienced 30-year-old Aussie who kept his cool in an intense third match tie-break, notching three mini-breaks to take victory.
“I knew it was going to be a difficult match. He has a big strong serve so I knew I had to be patient and wait for my chances. I’m happy that when I got the few chances on some points, I was able to make something happen well,” said Ebden.
Taylor Fritz was the first of two Americans to progress into the last eight on Thursday as he eased past Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-1 in 67 minutes on Court 1.
The 20-year-old Fritz, who made it from the qualifying rounds to the quarterfinals here last year (l. to Pella), served up eight aces and converted four out of seven break points to reach his fourth quarterfinal on the ATP World Tour this year.
Meanwhile, Sam Querrey put on a confident display on Centre Court to knock out third seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-1, 6-4 in just 53 minutes to set up an all-American quarterfinal tie against Fritz.
World No.58 Querrey, who has ten career singles titles and was at a career high of No.11 early in the season, served up 17 aces and won an incredible 100% of his first service points.
“I think I played great. One of the few times I played really well this year and I’m happy with it and hope I can continue with it. I’ve won three matches in a row now (including the Davis Cup), so I feel like I’m getting better. I practice with Taylor all the time and it’s never fun to play a younger American guy. But it happens so I just hope I can go out there and play well like I did today,” said Querrey, who lost to Fritz earlier this year at Delray Beach.
The match between Fognini and Ebden will kick things off on Centre Court on Friday at 2pm, followed by the quarterfinal between the two Americans.
Portuguese seventh seed Joao Sousa will meet Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri for the first time on tour in the day’s third quarterfinal, while Friday’s final last eight tie on Centre Court pits resurgent Aussie Bernard Tomic against in-form Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime in another first encounter.
In doubles quarterfinals matches played today, Croatian top seeds Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig rallied from a set down to defeat the Ukrainian-Slovakian pairing of Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 in 73 minutes.
They play the fourth seeds, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan, who is the reigning doubles titlist here, and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico in Friday’s first doubles semifinals match on Court 1 (starts at 4pm).
American Austin Krajicek and Indian Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan are also in tomorrow’s doubles semifinals after defeating the Belgium-Indian tandem of Ruben Bemelmans and Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-5 in 57 minutes.
They will meet Argentinian Guido Pella and Sousa on Court 1, after the Portuguese has suitable rest following his singles match.