Rising Spanish star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina made a winning return on Wednesday as he saw off fellow compatriot Bernabe Zapata Miralles in his Estoril opener. Davidovich Fokina, who reached his maiden Masters final in Monte Carlo two weeks ago, didn't play in Barcelona last week because he needed a break after a stunning Monte Carlo campaign.
Davidovich Fokina, seeded at No. 4, had a first round bye in Estoril before he defeated Zapata Miralles 6-3 7-6 (5) to progress into the quarterfinal. It was the second meeting between the two on the ATP Tour level. Davidovich Fokina now leads their head-to-head 2-0 as he also beat the 25-year-old when they met in Montpellier last year.
"Bernabe is a tough player. He played flat balls and on clay it's tough to play against him. In the second set he had chances to win the set and I was just there to focus on every point just to create some pressure [for] him," Davidovich Fokina said, per the ATP website.
"I'm happy for the win."
Davidovich Fokina escaped with a straight-set win
Both Davidovich Fokina and Zapata Miralles served out their first two service games before five consecutive breaks of serve happened.
Davidovich Fokina blew the breaks he earned in the third and fifth games but broke Zapata Miralles again in the seventh and ninth games to win the first set. After a first set that featured six breaks of serve, the second set started with Zapata Miralles breaking Davidovich Fokina in the opening game of the set.
Zapata Miralles was three times up by a break in the second set but Davidovich Fokina twice recovered to force a tie-break. Zapata Miralles paid the price for failing to serve out for the second set in the 12th game as Davidovich Fokina realized his first match point in the tie-break to escape with a straight-set win.
Davidovich Fokina is playing in Estoril for the third time. Davidovich Fokina reached the Estoril semifinals in 2019 and 2021. Davidovich Fokina plays next against Frances Tiafoe.