Third seed Ugo Humbert was tested in his Millenium Estoril Open debut on Thursday, but he overcame Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to book his spot in the quarter-finals.
The Frenchman is into his third tour-level quarter-final of the year, and his first away from French soil after reaching the semi-finals in Marseille (l. Herbert) and Montpellier (l. Bautista Agut). He will next face eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for the first time.
“The conditions are really nice here, but it was a bit windy today so it was tough to play against [Cecchinato] for my first match. But it’s a nice victory,” Humbert said. “I think I [have been] improving my game a lot since last year. I had some good victories over Fognini and Medvedev in Hamburg, and I’m trying to enjoy a lot. I’m very happy.”
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Humbert converted three of his nine break opportunities, and held firm in the third set to stave off a comeback from Cecchinato. With Humbert barrelling toward the finish line after taking a 3-0 lead, the Italian reeled off three straight games of his own to level the score. But Humbert found a way to close out the match after an hour and 51 minutes, and improved to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head against Cecchinato.
Also in action, eighth seed Davidovich Fokina raced into the quarter-finals after taking down Jeremy Chardy in 56 minutes, 6-1, 6-2.
Originally scheduled for Estadio Millennium, the pair’s match was moved to Court Cascais after heavy rainfall interrupted play earlier in the day. Davidovich Fokina was quick to adapt to the change in court – and heavier, windy conditions – and took a 3-0 lead in both sets against Chardy.
Davidovich Fokina saved five of the six break points faced to keep the pressure on Chardy. He also honed in on the Frenchman’s second serve, allowing Chardy to win only 25 per cent of points (4/16) behind his second delivery.
Davidovich Fokina’s victory is a repeat of his 2019 second-round clash against Chardy in Estoril with an identical scoreline. Back then, the Spaniard owned no tour-level wins going into his second ATP main draw as a qualifier, but still found a way to stun Chardy 6-1, 6-2 en route to the semi-finals. Now, the 21-year-old sits at a career-high No. 48 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.