© Neven GerenĨir

Fabio Fognini reaches the Umag quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur.

Fognini To Face Sousa In Umag QFs

Italian reaches Umag quarter-finals for third straight year

Fabio Fognini secured his place in the quarter-finals at the Konzum Croatia Open for the fourth time in five years by defeating Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 7-5 on Wednesday in Umag. 

The fifth-seeded Italian and 2013 finalist capitalised on four of his nine break points against the 100th-ranked Dzumhur, rallying from a 1-3 deficit in the second set to claim the 76-minute victory. 

"It is always great to win matches back to back," said Fognini. "I had a difficult first half of the year, so I am trying to find good sensations on the court. 

"I really enjoy playing here. It is close from home, I have friends with me. It doesn’t happen often during the year."

Fognini will next meet Joao Sousa, whom he defeated in their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Sousa knocked out third seed Andreas Seppi 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes.

"I didn’t feel really well on the court, especially in these conditions," said Seppi. "I missed most of the clay-court season so it didn’t help finding my rhythm on the court. He is really tough to beat."

Blaz Kavcic survived a fight back from 17-year-old wild card Andrey Rublev. The Slovenian, who is currently ranked World No. 132, beat the Russian teen 7-6(0), 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and 23 minutes. Kavcic will face second seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round.

"I had a lot of support from fans but it put pressure on me as well," said Kavcic. "After the first set, I didn’t feel too good, so I decided to let the second set go hoping to feel better in the third. It was a successful strategy."

Rublev was coming off a career-best win over World No. 32 Pablo Andujar in the fifth and decisive rubber of the Davis Cup tie between Russia and Spain.

"Rublev is a great player," said Kavcic. "He reminds me of del Potro. If he keeps on practising hard, and is strong mentally, he could definitely be a Top 10 player."

Dusan Lajovic beat compatriot Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-3 to set a second-round clash with fourth seed Dominic Thiem.

Second Seeds Ousted

Maximo Gonzalez and Andre Sa upset second seeds Dominic Inglot and Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 6-4 in 67 minutes. Gonzalez/Sa will face Austrians Julian Knowle and Philipp Oswald in the quarter-finals.

Fourth-seeded Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers also fell in their first-round match, defeated by Aliaksandr Bury and Oliver Marach 6-4, 6-3 in 61 minutes. 

Third seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez prevailed over Mateusz Kowalczyk and Igor Zelenay, 6-7(3), 6-4, 12-10 in one hour and 44 minutes. In the quarter-finals, the Polish/Mexican duo will face Croatian wild cards Dino Marcan and Antonio Sancic, 6-4, 6-4 winners over Aljaz Bedene and Dominic Thiem.

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