VILLENA/STARNBERG, October 14, 2021
Frenchman Hugo Grenier outlasted top-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-3, 7-5 Thursday in the second round of the Alicante Ferrero Challenger, extending the parade of upsets that has knocked out several top players.
In the final match of the day on Pista Central at the JC Ferrero Equelite Sport Academy in Villena, Spain, the World No. 203 sent down eight aces, saved all five break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own eight break-point chances to seal victory in one hour and 43 minutes. About 24 hours earlier, No. 2 seed and former Top 10 player Fernando Verdasco fell to Constant Lestienne in three sets.
Grenier will next take on Nuno Borges. The 24-year-old Portuguese fought past No. 7 seed and home favourite Mario Vilella Martinez 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 after one hour and 35 minutes.
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Portuguese players dominate, no Spaniards left
In other action, Joao Sousa went the distance to overcome Indian qualifier N. Sriram Balaji 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. The eighth seed from Portugal withstood 15 aces and broke his rival’s serve four times to prevail after one hour and 56 minutes.
Up next for Sousa will be his compatriot Frederico Ferreira Silva, who cruised past German alternate Mischa Zverev 6-2, 6-0. The encounter lasted only 54 minutes.
The quarterfinals of the €44,820 ATP Challenger hard-court event are set without a Spanish player left in the singles draw. The previous three editions were all won by local heroes. Veteran Pablo Andujar from Cuenca lifted the trophy in 2018 and in 2019, teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz of Murcia triumphed on home soil last year.