Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime survived a scare Thursday at the Millennium Estoril Open, overcoming Spaniard Carlos Taberner 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.
After a stuttering start, the World No. 10, who is making his main-draw debut in Estoril, began to outmanoeuvre Taberner as the match went on, pulling the lucky loser around with his aggressive groundstrokes in the second and third sets to advance after one hour and 55 minutes.
“It was windy today,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I was not patient in the first set, going for too much. I changed my mindset in the second set. I was ready to leave my body on the line and battle it out, rally after rally. I got a little bit more confident as the match went on. He is a tricky opponent on clay, he makes you work.”
Auger-Aliassime also defeated Taberner last week in Barcelona. Earlier this season, Auger-Aliassime lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Rotterdam before he reached the final in Marseille.
The 21-year-old will next meet eighth seed Sebastian Korda, who eliminated Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-3, 6-3.
The American, who lifted his first ATP Tour trophy last year on clay in Parma, converted four of his seven break points to advance after one hour and 21 minutes.
Auger-Aliassime won his only previous ATP Head2Head clash against Korda 6-3, 6-4 last year in Acapulco on a hard court.
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In other action, Sebastian Baez showed his fighting qualities as he battled back to down third seed Marin Cilic 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes at the ATP 250 clay-court event.
The Argentine, who reached the semi-finals at the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, has enjoyed a strong 2022 campaign, and is now into his third tour-level quarter-final of the year.
The 21-year-old advanced to the last eight in Cordoba, before he reached his first ATP Tour championship match in Santiago. Baez, currently at a career-high No. 59 in the ATP Rankings, is now 9-6 on the year on clay.
Baez will next play former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet after the Frenchman eliminated Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 7-6(5), 6-2 in two hours and 11 minutes. Gasquet has fond memories in Estoril, having lifted the title in 2015.