The rain had been halting the action at the ATP 250 Chengdu Open but the organizers managed to finish five matches and avoid packed schedule on Wednesday. The semi-finalist in St. Petersburg last week, Egor Gerasimov took down Zhe Li 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 56 minutes, overcoming a slow start and dropping only 13 points behind the initial shot in sets two and three to mount the pressure on Li who couldn't endure it.
The Chinese earned one break chance in the entre clash, seizing it to take the opening set and losing the edge in the rest of the encounter, with Gerasimov taking charge to score two breaks in set number two and another one at 4-3 in the decider to seal the deal and advance into the last 16.
Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 20 minutes, losing 14 points on serve and saving all three break chances, challenging Albot to repeat that if he wanted to stay competitive. The Moldovan was far from those numbers, facing ten break points and giving serve away once in each set to finish his run in the first round.
The Spaniard controlled the pace in the opening set and grabbed a break in game two, squandering five set points at 5-2 before closing the set on own serve with a hold at love. Albot wasted those three break opportunities in the fourth game of the second set, getting broken at love at 3-3 and allowing Carreno Busta to take four of the last five games and book the place in the second round.
Fernando Verdasco took down a qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 14 minutes, getting broken once and delivering four breaks to seal the deal in straight sets. The Spanish veteran had a clear advantage in the first set, dropping four points behind the initial shot and scoring a break in game three after a backhand error from the youngster.
Fernando held at love with a service winner to confirm the advantage and grabbed another break in the next game to move 4-1 in front, closing the opener with a forehand down the line winner in game eight. Raising his level, Popyrin broke in the fourth game of the second set and had two more chancers that could have pushed him 5-1 up, with Verdasco making a crucial hold to remain within one break deficit.
The Spaniard pulled it back in the seventh game, saving more break points in the next game and breaking at 15 at 5-5 when Alexei hit a costly double fault. Verdasco moved over the top with two service winners in game 12, earning the 24th ATP win and a much-needed one following a poor run after Wimbledon.
The 5th seed Dusan Lajovic had to work hard against Juan Ignacio Londero, prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in an hour and 44 minutes, producing five breaks and forging the pivotal advantage with a strong start in the deciding set that Londero couldn't follow despite pulling one break back.
A lucky loser Lloyd Harris stepped in to replace Kamil Majchrzak and used the opportunity with both hands, taking down Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-4 6-2 in just under two hours, taking advantage in the closing stages of the second set and never looking back in the decider for the first victory in the ATP tournaments since Winston-Salem in August.