Vesely Ousts Fognini In Marrakech
Djere, Verdasco make first-round exits
Czech Jiri Vesely recorded his biggest match win for nine months on Tuesday at the Grand Prix Hassan II with an impressive 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over second seed Fabio Fognini in one hour and 46 minutes. It was his second straight win over the World No. 18, nine months on from beating Diego Schwartzman and Fognini at Wimbledon in July 2018.
“As expected it was a tough match,” said Vesely, who will next play Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round. “Fabio is unpredictable and he can play Top 5 level. I got a bit nervous when he started playing unbelievably well at 5-1 in the second set. I’m coming back from a few injuries, so I still need to build my confidence [and] this is obviously a very important win.”
Laslo Djere and Fernando Verdasco were also among seeded casualties at the ATP 250 clay-court tournament. World No. 103 Lorenzo Sonego lost five of his first-service points in a 6-3, 6-3 win over fifth seed Djere, while fellow qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras recorded his first tour-level match win for 14 months by beating sixth seed Verdasco 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. In February 2018, the 33-year-old Menendez-Maceiras qualified and reached the New York Open quarter-finals (l. to Mannarino).
Elsewhere, seventh-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber recovered from 0-3 down in the first set and 1-4 in the second set to defeat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, a Spanish qualifier, 7-6(4), 7-5.
Two Frenchmen — eighth seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Benoit Paire — also opened their campaigns with victories. Herbert struck 13 aces in a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1 win over Italian Thomas Fabbiano, while Paire won the final three games of his 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.