Feliciano Lopez was made to work hard for his 400th career match win yesterday as he battled for three sets with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez before reaching the second round.
Sixth-seeded Lopez, a two-time runner-up in Dubai, has not had the best of times at tournaments this month as he had to retire from his quarter-final in Quito as he struggled to regulate his heartbeat, playing at high altitude, before losing in the first round in Marseille last week. But he made a great start against fellow Spaniard Garcia-Lopez, racing to a 5-0 lead en route to taking the first set but went down 1-3 in the second.
The world No24 broke back but Garcia-Lopez regained his advantage and leveled the match, forcing a decider.
Lopez opened up a 2-0 gap in the final set and got another break point in game five after a 29-shot rally that ended with a Garcia-Lopez wide backhand. But a good serve saw Garcia-Lopez save his third break point of the game and he held for 2-3 to avoid going down a double-break. But that was enough for Lopez and he sealed the win by successfully rushing the net.
He awaits the winner of today’s first round match between Indian wildcard Yuki Bhambri and Czech world No51 Lukas Rosol.
“Very happy, first of all, because I think it is a good number, 400 wins,” the 34-year-old Lopez said with a smile.
“It’s been a long time since I started playing tennis, and I’m very happy that I have been able to achieve this number. It means that I was also very lucky in terms of injuries. I have been able to play for almost 15 years.
“Guillermo is a tough player for me to face. He’s a very solid player. He has very good groundstrokes. He hits the ball really hard. But I was very aggressive. I think I was doing the right things, especially in the beginning of the match.”
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