Federico Delbonis has fond memories of the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, where he won his first ATP World Tour title four years ago, using the effort to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings for the first time.
The Argentine is looking to use those memories to propel him to a strong performance this week in Brazil. And the 27-year-old got off to a good start on Monday, beating recent Ecuador Open champion Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-4 in one hour, 38 minutes.
"Coming here where I won my first ATP World Tour title, I have very good memories,” Delbonis said. "I try to play like the tournament when I won, but I have to keep going and play match by match.”
The eighth seed saved all three break points he faced while capitalising on two of his eight opportunities to oust the dangerous 24-year-old Spaniard, the World No. 79.
"He’s a young gun. He’s ascending at the ATP World Tour level. He won a couple weeks ago an ATP tournament,” Delbonis said. "He’s going up. But I played a solid game, mostly at the end of each set.”
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Delbonis will next face 34-year-old Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who overcame a second-set hiccup and 1-3 third-set deficit to defeat Austrian Gerald Melzer 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
“It’s always tough to come from outside courts to play indoors. It’s not easy, because the conditions are different,” Garcia-Lopez said. “The match was tough until the end because he was winning 3-1 in the third set and I had to play my best tennis in that moment… at the end, I felt really, really good on the court."
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Delbonis has made at least the quarter-finals in three of his four main draw appearances at the Brasil Open. He won three of his five matches in three sets when he claimed the title in 2014.