Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo sent second-seeded Tommy Robredo packing on Thursday, while two other seeded Spaniards made it safely into the quarter-finals of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship.
Giraldo saved all four break points he faced en route to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Robredo, who was making his debut for Houston.
It was a different story for third-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and No. 4 Fernando Verdasco, who both moved into the last eight of the ATP event.
Almagro, last year’s runner-up in Houston, cruised past the US’ Michael Russell 6-2, 6-3, while left-hander Verdasco got past American Steve Johnson 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
Almagro, 28, peppered Russell with seven aces.
Almagro is next to face 21-year-old American Jack Sock, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Germany’s Benjamin Becker.
Verdasco dropped serve just once and converted four of his five break chances against Johnson.
Verdasco is next scheduled to face 24-year-old American Donald Young, who upset sixth-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-3.
Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez reached his first ATP quarter-final with a truncated victory over fifth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
Gonzalez was leading 6-3, 2-0 when Lopez retired with severe allergies that he said left him “really sick.”
GRAND PRIX HASSAN II
AP, CASABLANCA, Morocco
The third-seeded Benoit Paire of France made a winning return from injury as he beat Albert Montanes to reach the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix Hassan II.
Paire, who was sidelined for three months, won 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and is to meet another Spaniard in Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, after the eighth seed beat Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 7-5.
Fourth seed Marcel Granollers is also safely through after defeating fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), but fifth-seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal lost 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena, who is playing in only his second ATP World Tour event.
Carballes Baena is to face Andrey Kuznetsov next. The Russian led 6-2, 3-1 against Jiri Vesely when the 20-year-old retired due to illness.
Pablo Carreno Busta beat Aleksandr Nedovyesov 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3).