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Feliciano Lopez makes an appearance at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Segovia.

Former Champ Lopez Returns To Segovia Challenger

Spaniard hits with rising star Santillan

Less than a week after clinching his fifth ATP World Tour title on the clay of Gstaad, World No. 18 Feliciano Lopez was back on home soil, paying a visit to the ATP Challenger Tour event in Segovia.

The 2009 champion in Segovia, Lopez returned to the site of his first Challenger title on Thursday. The nearby Toledo native hit the hard courts to practise with coach José Clavet and Japanese teenager Akira Santillan. Santillan, 19, is into the quarter-finals in just his second ATP Challenger Tour main draw. 

Lopez hit with Santillan for an hour, in preparation for the North American hard-court swing.

"He is a young player that I had heard about for many years. It's the first time that we played, but I can see clearly that he has great talent and a lot of promise,” said Lopez. “He is young, but has a lot of variety in his game and a good serve. To play tennis these days, that's important."

Santillan relished the experience of hitting with a player inside the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, calling it “a great practice” and “an amazing experience for me.”

Santillan will face Italy's Luca Vanni in the Segovia quarter-finals on Friday. Lopez, meanwhile, looks to extend his strong run of form when he returns to the ATP World Tour in two weeks in Los Cabos.

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