Bautista Agut Bounces Barrere, Begins Pursuit Of Montpellier Title

Top seed Roberto Bautista Agut began his pursuit of a 10th ATP Tour title on Thursday with a solid performance at the Open Sud de France, where he defeated home favourite Gregoire Barrere 6-0, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

The Spaniard, who last lifted a trophy at 2019 Doha, won the first eight games of the match and triumphed after 66 minutes. Barrere won three consecutive games in the second set to make things interesting, but Bautista Agut, who broke serve six times, was too consistent from the baseline throughout the clash.

Bautista Agut will next play sixth seed Ugo Humbert for the first time. The French lefty saved three match points to beat Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday in Montpellier.

Davidovich Fokina
Photo Credit: J.B. Autissier – Panoramic
Another Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, also advanced Thursday. The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor recovered from 1-3 down in the first set, and converted four of 10 break point opportunities, en route to beating fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday in one hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France.

The 21-year-old will next challenge Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, who backed up Tuesday’s win over former World No. 1 Andy Murray by knocking out Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 51 minutes. 

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Austria’s Dennis Novak advanced to his second ATP Tour quarter-final after fighting back from a 3-5 deficit in the second set to knock out third seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 7-6(5), 7-5 in one hour and 35 minutes. Lajovic came into the ATP 250 event on the back of reaching the Australian Open fourth round (l. to Zverev).

Novak now faces German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, who needed two hours and 28 minutes to overcome Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-3. In a big-serving contest, Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 per cent of his first-service points (60/70), while Vesely fired down 29 aces.

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