Lopez Doubles His Pleasure, Stuns Top Seed Fognini In Auckland
Shapovalov, Isner prevail on Wednesday
Feliciano Lopez is the oldest player in the draw at the ASB Classic in Auckland, but still possesses a level of fitness that his younger peers on Tour can only look up to. The 38-year-old won a pair of three-set matches on Wednesday and completed his busy day with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over top-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini.
Rain on Tuesday meant that several players were forced to play their first and second-round matches on Wednesday. Lopez completed a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 win earlier in the day against fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar before returning to face Fognini. He only got stronger as his match with the Italian wore on, hammering 17 aces to advance in one hour and 58 minutes.
"The first match today was tough for me, but I think it was very helpful because it was my first [singles] match of the season,” Lopez said. “Without that match, I don’t think I would have played the way I did today against Fabio.”
Next up for Lopez is sixth-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who improved to 5-0 in 2020 with a 6-2, 7-6(2) victory over Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer. Hurkacz won all three of his singles matches for Team Poland at the ATP Cup, defeating a trio of higher-ranked opponents including World No. 4 Dominic Thiem.
John Millman recorded his biggest match win for 16 months on Tuesday night by overcoming third-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes to extend his perfect start to the 2020 ATP Tour season. It marks the Australian’s highest-ranked victory since reaching the 2018 US Open quarter-finals, which included wins over then No. 14 Fabio Fognini and then No. 2-ranked Roger Federer.
Fourth seed and two-time Auckland champion John Isner kicked off his campaign with an all-American battle and unseated defending champion Tennys Sandgren 7-6(3), 6-7(1), 6-3. The hard-fought victory gives Isner his first win of the season.
”It’s always a tough match playing Tennys. He does a lot of things really well on the court. When him and I match up, it’s inevitably going to be close and that was the case today,” Isner said. “I’m happy to get through in somewhat comfortable fashion in the third set.”
Awaiting him in the quarter-finals is Brit Kyle Edmund, who defeated Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-6(4). Seppi scored a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 upset earlier in the day against seventh-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Frenchman Ugo Humbert required just 55 minutes to move past Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-1, 6-4 and is guaranteed to play second seed Denis Shapovalov, who was a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory over fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Cecchinato endured a wild 7-6(6), 6-7(18), 7-6(2) battle earlier in the day with Argentine Leonardo Mayer.
Fifth-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire withstood another three-set battle in Auckland to move past Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and reach the last eight. He’ll play third-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov or Aussie John Millman, who close out the evening session.
Sharan/Sitak Upset Top Seeds
In first-round doubles action, Divij Sharan/Artem Sitak sent shockwaves through the draw by ousting top seeds John Peers/Michael Venus 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Frederik Nielsen/Tim Puetz provided the other upset of the day by defeating second seeds Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-7.
Third seeds Rohan Bopanna/Henri Kontinen eased past Cameron Norrie/Rhett Purcell 6-4, 6-2 in 55 minutes. They'll play Luke Bambridge/Ben McLachlan in the quarter-finals after the British-Japanese pair beat Mackenzie McDonald/Ajeet Rai 6-3, 7-5. Fourth seeds Austin Krajicek/Franko Skugor fought past Santiago Gonzalez/Ken Skupski 7-5, 7-6(5).