The first seed and top favorite for the title Fabio Fognini has fallen on the first obstacle in Cordoba, with Aljaz Bedene beating the Italian 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and nine minutes for the first triumph over Fabio in nine matches!
Both players struggled to make an impact with the second serve but the Slovenian created much more damage with the first, facing three break points and losing serve twice. That was far from enough for Fognini to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard, losing almost 60% of the points behind the initial shot to suffer six breaks from eight chances he gave to Bedene.
Fabio netted an easy forehand to lose serve at 15 in the very first game, which set the tone for the rest of the match as he never found the right rhythm. The Italian sprayed another forehand error in game three to fall further behind and the opening set was over when Aljaz broke him for the third time in game seven, you guess, after a loose shot from Fognini's forehand wing.
The better-ranked player recovered at the start of the second set, breaking at 15 in the first game and opening a 3-1 lead with a hold at love in game four. Bedene broke back at love at 2-3 to level the score and they traded breaks in games seven and eight before the Slovenian held after a deuce to move 5-4 up.
Serving to stay in the match in the game that followed, Fabio sent a forehand long to lose serve and hand the win to his rival who will play in the first ATP quarter-final since Budapest last year. The young Spaniard Jaume Munar will compete in the second quarter-final of the year following a rock solid 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over the 2nd seed Marco Cecchinato in an hour and 38 minutes.
Marco served at 73% but that didn't give him much, losing the edge on the second serve and getting broken three times from as many chances Munar created. The Spaniard had to play against only two break points in the entire match and he was the dominant figure in the sets he won, giving the serve away only once and bringing the encounter home with a strong performance in set number three.
Jaume hit the zone from the very first game, holding after a deuce and stealing Marco's serve in the following game to open the lead. Both players served well in the next seven games and Munar sealed the opener with a good hold at 5-3.
Cecchinato bounced back in the second set, staying away from break points and earning a break of his own at 2-1 to stay ahead all the time and set up a decider. The Spaniard managed to leave the set behind him instantly, winning five straight games in the third set to cross the finish line and move into the last eight.
The 8th seed Guido Pella needed two hours and five minutes to dismiss Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 7-6 and reach the first quarter-final since Umag in July. The Argentinian played well behind both the first and second serve, getting broken twice but erasing the deficit with three breaks of serve that pushed him into the last eight.
Ramos-Vinolas lost five of the first seven games but he raised the level in set number two, saving a match point in the tenth game to prolong the set before losing the tie break 7-4 to hand the win to his rival. The 3rd seed Diego Schwartzman avoided the fate of Fognini and Cecchinato, beating Alessandro Giannessi 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 to stay on the title course.
The Italian had to play against 20 break points, suffering seven breaks and losing the edge after the marathon opening set to hit the exit door despite being the set up in the second set as well. They won 14 out of 55 points behind the second serve but Diego played better and better as the match progressed to secure the seventh win of the season.
The first set lasted for 75 minutes and there were 15 break points up for grabs, with Schwartzman wasting a set point on serve at 5-4 before Giannessi claimed it 7-4 in the tie break. Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Diego rattled off four straight games for a 6-3, never looking back and storming over Alessandro in set number three to seal the deal with ten consecutive games on his tally.