Felix Sets Nishikori Showdown
Felix Auger-Aliassime will face two-time Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell champion Kei Nishikori for a place in the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 event.
The 16th seed won 77 per cent of his first-serve points and fought off Tunisian Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-6(7) to make the third round. Auger-Aliassime improved to 2-1 during the European clay-court swing, after making the second round at last week's Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Zverev), the season's first clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event.
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The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime, No. 31, is at a career-high in the ATP Rankings. He is the highest-ranked player his age since No. 25 Lleyton Hewitt on 8 November 1999. It will be his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against No. 7 Nishikori, who won the event in 2014-2015.
Monte-Carlo semi-finalist Daniil Medvedev backed up his best Masters 1000 run with a gritty performance against Barcelona native Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who made the Monte-Carlo final in 2017, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
Medvedev, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic last week, saved five of six break points to make the third round and will next meet American Mackenzie McDonald, who knocked out 11th seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-2.
"I'm really happy with the way that I finished the match, and the first and third sets were a really good level," Medvedev said.
Monte-Carlo champion Fabio Fognini withdrew (hamstring) but Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena took advantage of his lucky loser spot, beating Spanish wild card Nicola Kuhn 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2. The 2018 Quito titlist will play reigning Houston champion Cristian Garin, who dismissed ninth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-5, 6-2. Garin beat #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud earlier this month to win his maiden ATP Tour title at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.