Sousa Survives Popyrin Test
Lajovic, Carreno Busta beaten in first round
Defending champion Joao Sousa was made to work hard for his place in the Millennium Estoril Open second round on Tuesday.
The Portuguese No. 1, who defeated Frances Tiafoe in last year's championship match, needed two hours and 13 minutes to battle past #NextGenATP Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Sousa entered Estoril with an 0-3 event record last year, but has now won six consecutive matches at his home tournament.
The 30-year-old will meet fourth seed David Goffin in the second round. Sousa owns one victory from five FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up.
Last year's finalist Tiafoe made a winning return to Estoril, beating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-5. The #NextGenATP American improves to 5-1 at the ATP 250 event and will face Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in the second round.
Leonardo Mayer upset Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist Dusan Lajovic 7-6(3), 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes. The Argentine will play Malek Jaziri for a place in the quarter-finals. Jaziri defeated Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell quarter-finalist Nicolas Jarry 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Jeremy Chardy became the first man to defeat Pablo Carreno Busta before the semi-finals in Estoril, recovering from a set down to overcome the 2017 champion 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. Carreno Busta entered this year's tournament with a 13-3 event record, having reached the semi-finals or better in each of his four previous appearances.