MARRAKECH, April 8, 2016
The four quarterfinal matches took place on Centre Court on Friday at the Grand Prix Hassan II, held in sunny and hot conditions at the Royal Tennis Club in Marrakech.
In the only match of the day not featuring one of the three remaining Spaniards, third seed Borna Coric started his title bid, battling past Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. The 19-year-old Croat reached the stage of the final eight wihout hitting a ball. After a first round bye, Coric’s second round showdown with Simone Bolelli was cancelled after the Italian withdrew with a left knee injury. Consequently, Coric needed to find his rhythm and missed three set points in the tie-break of the opening set, having some problems to capitalize on his chances throughout the match but also saved seven of the eight break points he faced. Coric, who is making his tournament debut, hit 12 aces and broke serve in the seventh game of the final set after he had received a medical time out and some treatment on his left hip to seal victory in three hours and six minutes.
“It was a very tough match. I didn’t feel very confident to get into the match, as I didn’t play any match here and was a bit nervous but I am extremely happy about the way I played. I was a bit unlucky in the tie-break and didn’t play well on the important points, which I accepted and just continued fighting,” Coric told Tennis TourTalk after the battle.
When he was asked if it is an advantage or disadvantage to start a tournament on a Friday he said:
“It depends on the way you look at it. I am well rested but other players may have already got some match practice.”
Concerning his medical time-out in the third set he added:
“I have had a small problem on my hip for the last month and during tough matches, it gets a little bit stiff, which is normal. But I am sure it will be fine by tomorrow.”
Coric will take on Jiri Vesely in the semi-final. The eighth seed from the Czech Republic knocked out the tournament’s number one Guillermo García-López in a rematch of the Bucharest 2015 final, won by the Spaniard. Vesely, who is playing his first clay court event of the season, hit six aces, saved all three break points he faced, converting one of his own to advance in one hour and 52 minutes.
Albert Montanes defeated Facundo Bagnis, who appeared in his first quarterfinal, 6-1, 7-5. The 35-year-old Spaniard is making his ninth appearance at the GP Hassan II, won 96% of his first service points and converted five of his seven break point chances to advance after one hour and 14 minutes.
“I gained a comfortable 5-2 lead in the opening set but it is always difficult to close the set and the match out. Overall it was pretty tough today but I am very satisfied with this victory today,” Montanes told Tennis TourTalk after reaching his first semi-final on the ATP World Tour since May 2014 in Nice.
“It is always something special to win matches at this level. Getting into the semis here is something I can enjoy and I am really happy,” added the Spaniard, who reached the final in 2007 when the tournament was held in Casablanca. “The new venue here is very nice. The hotel is very close and the club is very good. It’s brilliant.”
Montanes will take on Federico Delbonis. The fourth seed from Argentina, who recently earned his biggest win of his career against Andy Murray in Indian Wells, beat Pablo Carreno-Busta for the third time in as many tour meetings 7-5, 6-2. Delbonis sent down six aces and lost his service only once, converting four of his own 11 break point opportunities. The encounter lasted one hour and 16 minutes.
We spoke to the winner after the match: Delbonis QF Marrakech 2016