EL ESPINAR/SEGOVIA, July 29, 2021
The quarterfinals of the 30th edition of the Open Castilla y Leon Villa de El Espinar, Spain’s longest-running ATP Challenger event, are set. Top seed Feliciano Lopez survived a scare in the second round of the €66,640 hard-court event on a sunny but also windy Thursday afternoon. The World No. 89 lefty from Spain fought back from a set down to overcome unranked Spanish wild card entry Julio Cesar Porres 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4.
Lopez fired 16 aces and won 76 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after two hours and six minutes. The 39-year-old Toledo native said that it was a complicated match but he improved his level in the second set and hopes to continue like this in the upcoming match.
The former World No. 12, a winner of seven ATP Tour singles titles, will next take on Frenchman Hugo Grenier. The 25-year-old Montbrison native also had to go the distance to fight past Spanish qualifier Carlos Gimeno Valero 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier in the day. Grenier capitalized on four of his nine-break point chances to secure victory in two hours and 11 minutes. Lopez and Grenier will meet for the first time.
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Mixed feelings for in-form Turkish players
In other action, last week’s Open Ciudad de Pozoblanco champion Altug Celikbilek continued his fine run of form on the Spanish hard courts. The No. 8 seed from Turkey edged out Russian veteran Teymuraz Gabasvhili 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Celikbilek won 10 points more than his rival to succeed after one hour and 32 minutes.
The World No. 255 will next play Nicolas Moreno de Alboran. The US-American qualifier defeated No. 9 seed Cem Ilkel, who finished runner-up to his compatriot and good friend Celikbilek in Andalusia last Sunday, 6-4, 6-0. Moreno de Alboran left the court as a winner after 59 minutes to reach his first quarterfinal on the ATP Challenger Tour.