MARRAKECH, April 7, 2016
The remaining four second round matches were on Thursday’s schedule at the Grand Prix Hassan II, held at the Royal Tennis Club in Marrakech.
Top-seed and 2014 champion Guillermo García-López opened his title bid, beating fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the pair’s sixth meeting on the ATP World Tour. The world number 38 from Albacete is making his fifth straight tournament appearance and is playing his first clay court event of the season. García-López withstood 11 aces, hitting four of his own to advance after two hours and seven minutes. He levelled head to head records with Almagro to 3-3.
The Spaniard will face Jiri Vesely next. The eighth seed battled past Croatian qualifier and tournament debutant Nikola Mektic 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. Vesely, who had only posted one singles win in the first three months of the season before coming to Marrakech, fired 15 aces, winning 81% of his first service points to prevail in three hours and one minute.
“Nikola played a very solid match without making a lot of errors. I played very well on Monday, but it was really tough for me today. I produced a couple of easy mistakes, which made it very difficult for me. On the other hand, it is a good thing to win a match like this, in which you have to fight for every single ball,” Vesely told Tennis TourTalk after the match.
“I had a pretty difficult and hard start into the season, which doesn’t give you a lot of confidence for your matches. But I am happy to be back on the clay, a fact which maybe gives a new impuls for the next part of the season and there is still time to gain much better results in 2016.”
The tournament’s number seven Pablo Carreno-Busta defeated Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-6. The 24-year-old Spaniard didn’t face a break point, converting two of his own to reach his third quarterfinal of the season after one hour and 17 minutes.
Carreno-Busta will take on Federico Delbonis next. The fourth seed from Argentina dismissed Thiemo de Bakker 6-4, 6-4 in the last match on centre court, winning 52% of the total points. The encounter lasted one hour and 30 minutes.