World no. 174 Roberto Marcora managed to qualify for the main draw in Pune, only his second on the ATP Tour in a career, and make a name for himself following a 6-4, 6-4 win over the top seed Benoit Paire. The 30-year-old never claimed an ATP win before this week and will compete in the quarters now, taking three points more than the top-20 player and prevailing in the pivotal moments to enter the last eight.
Marcora saved seven out of eight break chances and grabbed three breaks from four opportunities, using another mediocre day at the office for the Frenchman to stay in the tournament for at least one more round. Roberto fended off a couple of break chances in the fourth game of the opener, delivering a break in the next game and serving well in the rest of the set to take it 6-4.
They traded breaks in games five and six in set number two, with another one for the Italian at 4-4, saving break points in the next game to seal the deal and advance into the last eight. The young Korean Soonwoo Kwon is through as well, beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 43 minutes for his first ATP quarter-final since Los Cabos last year.
Serving well, Kwon saved two out of three break chances and clinched two breaks from ten opportunities, enough to carry him over the top safely. The first couple of games produced two breaks before Kwon forged the advantage with another one at 3-2, increasing the lead after fending off two break points in the next game and taking the opener with a hold in game nine.
The youngster sailed through his service games in set number two, squandering his chances on the return before taking the tie break 7-5 to stay on the title course. The 6th seed James Duckworth ousted Taro Daniel 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and 52 minutes, taking three points more than the Japanese and prevailing with one break more on his tally.
Almost nothing could separate them on the court, repelling 17 out of 20 break points in total and staying neck and neck almost all the time. Daniel had set points at 5-3 in the first set, failing to close the set and having to wait until the tie break to wrap it up.
James saved a match point at 5-6 in set number two, winning the tie break 8-6 to force a decider where he broke Taro at 4-3 to finish the job with a hold at love in the next game. Egor Gerasimov overpowered Nikola Milojevic 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, getting broken twice in the opener and never experiencing troubles again behind the initial shot to mount the pressure on the Serb and dominate in sets two and three for the place in the quarters.