VALENCIA, October 29, 2015
Five seeds headlined second round action on Day 4 at the Valencia Open, but only two of them made it into the quarterfinals.
Steve Johnson continues his good run on the ATP World Tour. After reaching the finals in Vienna last Sunday, the 25-year-old US-American knocked out second seed Feliciano López, winning 6-4, 7-6. Johnson lost his service only once in the tenth game of the second set, when he couldn’t serve the match out, but capitalized on three of his own break point chances to evenutally seal victory in the breaker after one hour and 14 minutes.
“I played a couple of lefties before, which gives you a good rhythm for a match against a good server like Feliciano,” Johnson told after he had beaten Martin Klizan in the opening round. “The conditions compared to Vienna are different. Of course, both are indoor tournaments but the balls are different, the services are a bit different, but you come out and just try to play good tennis,” the world number 33 told and added that it is going to be an open tournament. “Yes, that’s great. Anyone can win, it’s just up to somebody playing good tennis and get the job done on Sunday.”
Johnson will take on with Guillermo Garcia-López another Spaniard next. The sixth seed overcame Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, winning 6-3, 6-4. The 26-year-old from Albacete hit eight aces and won 75% of his first service points to reach the quarterfinals after one hour and 45 minutes.
Seventh favourite Roberto Bautista-Agut was the only seeded player, who remained untroubled on Thursday. The 27-year-old local beat Russian teenager Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3. Bautista-Agut saved all of the four break points he faced and converted three of his own to close the match after 68 minutes.
“There are still a lot of rounds to go until Sunday’s final. Tomorrow will be another difficult match but I felt better today, as I am getting used to the conditions here in Valencia,” Bautista-Agut told after reaching his eighth quarterfinals of the season, taking on Zverev next.
It was a great day at the office for the German qualifiers, who both advanced to the quarterfinals. Mischa Zverev knocked off fourth seed Fabio Fognini, winning 6-2, 7-6. The 28-year-old converted three of his five break point chances to prevail in one hour and 18 minutes.
The Italian seemed to accept the defeat. “I am very tired and I want to finish this season. I decided to come here in the last moment and I need some rest,” he told afterwards.
Zverev was understandably happy. “It was a great match, I enjoyed it. I played some incredible tennis, although it looked like that Fabio was not really into the match but I am happy to be through,” the German told afterwards. “I played well in the qualifying, had a tough first round against Bellucci, so I just wanted to come out and enjoy one of the last tournaments of the season. There is no pressure and it worked out well,” the world number 215 was satisfied with his performance but had to cope with some physical problems on court. “I felt pain in my knee but when the trainer came out and I received some treatment, I felt better. It just seemed to be the muscle and I luckily recovered quickly,” Zverev explained and added that from now on everything is possible in the tournament. “You never know, a crazy upset is always possible,” he stated.
Daniel Brands cruised past Spanish lucky loser Albert Montanes, who replaced actual top-seed David Ferrer, winning 6-2, 6-2 in only 52 minutes. Both men already met in the qualifying -back then the German lost one game more.
Joao Sousa beat fifth seed Benoit Paire in their first meeting on the ATP World Tour, winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. The 26-year-old Portuguese withstood 11 aces, being more solid on the second serve winning half of the points played. Sousa closed the match out after one hour and 46 minutes taking on Pablo Cuevas next.
In one of the side events in the Fun Park, tournament dircetor Juan Carlos Ferrero visited the official stringer getting a racket ready for play.