Wednesday’s play at the Cordoba Open was not kind to the home favourites, as three Argentines suffered first-round defeats on the ATP 250’s stadium court.
Joao Sousa opened the day’s play with a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win against Tomas Martin Etcheverry, before Marco Cecchinato defeated Facundo Bagnis 6-2, 7-6(4) and qualifier Hugo Dellien downed fifth seed Pedro Cachin 6-3, 6-4.
Fourth seed Sebastian Baez salvaged the day for the Argentine fans by closing the evening’s play with a 6-3, 6-4 second-round win against Italian qualifier Luciano Darderi. It was the World No. 47’s first win of the 2023 season.
Italy’s Cecchinato did well to finish off his victory against Bagnis in straight sets after he missed out on two match points on return at 5-3 and failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set. The former World No. 16 raced out to a 5/0 lead in the tie-break before sealing his place in the second round with his second tour-level victory of the season.
“I started the match very well on my serve. At the end I [felt] a little bit of tension because it’s the first [clay] match of the year,” said Cecchinato, who was broken just once. “I need the confidence during the match and I need the feeling on red clay. It’s the first match after so many months on the red clay. In the end I’m very happy for this victory.”
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The 30-year-old will face sixth seed Federico Coria in the second round after the Argentine scored a 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2 win against Thiago Monteiro on Tuesday. In addition to the pair’s lone previous ATP Head2Head meeting, a three-set win for Coria in Bastad in 2021, they have also met three times on the ATP Challenger Tour, with the Italian winning twice.
“I know Coria,” said Cecchinato. “We’ve played so many times, so for sure it will be a tough match.”
Chile’s Tomas Barrios Vera became the first man to reach the quarter-finals this year in Cordoba courtesy of his 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win gainst eight-seeded Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles. The wild card faces Baez next.