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Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta made a good start towards claiming his first ATP Tour title on home soil Wednesday when he defeated countryman Mario Vilella Martinez 7-6(2), 6-3 in one hour and 38 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open.

The top seed saved the two break points he faced and won 73 per cent of his first-serve points to triumph against the qualifier. Carreno Busta has lifted four tour-level trophies in his career, and the World No. 15 is trying to add a fifth to his collection this week in Marbella.

“It was a very important match for me, to be back in competition after several weeks. It was important to start well, to gain confidence,” Carreno Busta said. “I knew it was going to be a tough opponent, who came from qualifying, and the first matches are complicated. I have had a good level of tennis and now I have rhythm and I will improve. I played aggressive and with a very good attitude and that will help me for the next match.”

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The 29-year-old will next face seventh seed Soonwoo Kwon, who swept past Facundo Bagnis of Argentina 6-1, 6-3. The South Korean began the week without a tour-level win on clay, but he has now strung together two consecutive victories to reach the last eight. 

“I will have to study him and analyse how he plays to prepare for the match. First I’m going to rest and enjoy the victory,” Carreno Busta said. “Being the first favourite, I have pressure, but it was important to get a hard game from the start and I think I will feel comfortable.”

Fourth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas booked his place in the quarter-finals on Wednesday with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in two hours and 12 minutes. It was the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting for nine years (2012 Stockholm).

“It was not a typical clay-court match, as Berankis plays very direct and seeks to [end] points [early] all the time,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “The sensations were not easy to grasp… From 3-2 in the first set, I played really well. I relaxed, but then he raised his level and I suffered a lot.”

The 33-year-old Ramos-Vinolas, who advanced to his ninth ATP Tour final at the Cordoba Open (l. to Cerundolo) in February, will now play Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos. 

Gombos dug deep to record only his second match win of the season over three hours and 20 minutes. The World No. 99 advanced to his fourth ATP Tour quarter-final with a 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-6(1) victory over eighth-seeded Argentine Federico Delbonis. Gombos won the first three games of both the first and third sets, only to see Delbonis fight back.

Did You Know?
Top-seeded Carreno Busta won his only previous ATP Tour title on clay in Estoril, where he was also the No. 1 seed, in 2017.


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