Thu, Jan 16, 2020 - Page 16 News List

Lopez doubles up, ousts top seed Fognini

AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Feliciano Lopez, playing his second match of the day, yesterday knocked top seed and world No. 12 Fabio Fognini out of the ASB Classic in Auckland to advance to the quarter-finals.

Karen Khachanov, the third seed, was also eliminated, losing to Australian John Millman, while the second and fourth seeds, Denis Shapovalov and John Isner, went through to the final eight.

Lopez, at 38 the oldest player in the tournament and one of several players forced to double up following a rain disruption on the previous day, played three sets in each match and spent 4 hours, 25 minutes on court.

He began the day by beating Pablo Andujar 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 and after a three-hour rest, he came from behind to beat Fognini 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Lopez, ranked No. 61, believes the rain delay did him a favor.

“The first match was tough, but I honestly think it was very helpful for me against Fabio,” Lopez said. “It was my first match this year, it was two-and-a-half hours on the court, so that was very helpful for me and without that match, I don’t think I could have played the way I did against Fabio.”

Lopez is to face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals after the sixth seed put away Mikael Ymer of Sweden 6-2, 7-6 (7/2).

While Lopez found two matches beneficial, two other players required to play twice lost in the second round.

Italian Marco Cecchinato, who won a three-hour marathon against Leonardo Mayer in which the second set tiebreak went to 20-18, was then beaten by Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-1, 6-4.

Andreas Seppi of Italy beat seventh seed Adrian Mannarino in three sets before going down to Kyle Edmund 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Edmund is to play two-time Auckland champion Isner, who opened his campaign after a bye with a three-set win over defending titleholder Tennys Sandgren.

Fourth seed Isner won 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, pulling away in the deciding set with the first service break of the match when Sandgren faltered at 2-2. Until then, the pair had only been separated by tiebreaks, with Isner taking their previous encounter in Stockholm two years ago in three tiebreak sets.

“I feel good about that,” Isner said of finding a way around Sandgren’s serve and dishing up 16 aces of his own.

After losing all three of his matches last week at the ATP Cup in Australia, Isner was relieved to register a win.

“The freshest memory I have right now is winning and playing a good third set, so I have to use that to gain momentum going forward,” Isner said.

“I won a tiebreaker, he won a tiebreaker, there wasn’t much separating us at all,” he said. “Eventually I played a good game at 2-2 in the third and was able to break and give myself some momentum. It’s a good sign.”

Shapovalov beat Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), while Millman dropped the first set against Khachanov before recovering to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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