It was a 50-50 day for the remaining seeds in the 2021 Winston-Salem Open.
The man at the top of the field and the top of the draw, 2016 champion, Pablo Carreno Busta, pushed through in a straightforward win over Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-2, 6-3. It was his third victory over Koepfer in three straight tournaments, the other two coming at the Tokyo Olympic games and then at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
“It was very important to me to be focused from the beginning of this match. I played aggressively today,” said the Spaniard.
The Olympic bronze medalist won 80% of his first serve points and saved the only break point he faced. Carreno Busta says each win gives him more confidence heading into the U.S. Open next week.
“I feel really comfortable here. I need the rhythm. I’m playing at a really good level, and I would like to continue this way.”
He will continue into the quarterfinals, facing Ilya Ivashka who downed No. 9 seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-1 in just more than an hour.
The highest remaining seed in the bottom half of the draw is No. 13, Frances Tiafoe. He kicked off the night session taking on Brazil’s No. 1 Thiago Monteiro. The 23-year-old from Hyattsville, Maryland was looking to back up Tuesday night’s win over Andy Murray.
Tiafoe sprinted through his service games, hitting 14 aces and winning 86% of his first serve points taking the match 7-5, 7-6.
“I served unbelievably. It’s great. It helps you loosen up from the back of the court. You can go for more because you’re so confident. Hopefully, I can serve like that the rest of the week.”
The fan-favorite will have another spot under the lights on Thursday night when he meets Mikael Ymer of Sweeden who ended lucky loser Max Purcell’s campaign 7-5, 6-2.
Tiafoe won his first ATP Tour main draw match on the courts at the Wake Forest University Tennis Complex in 2015 when he was just 17 and ranked 275 in the world.
“I just feel at home out here. They’ve really taken me in. It’s a packed stadium on a Wednesday night. It’s great. I get excited to come out and play.”
American and Tiafoe’s fellow Olympian Marcus Giron is also into the quarters after a third-set dismissal of lucky loser Pierre-Hughes Herbert. After dropping the first set, Giron closed out 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. This is Giron’s third quarterfinal this season and brings his overall record to 14-14.
Giron will do battle against Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz who capped off the day’s action in a rollercoaster win over Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.
“It was an up and down match. I felt a little bit tired in the second set, so in the third I tried to make the points shorter. That way I didn’t have to run too much,” Alcaraz said.
Thursdays match will be the teen’s first-ever hard court quarterfinal.
Veteran Richard Gasquet makes another quarterfinal in Winston-Salem after doing the same he 2016 when he last played the event. Wednesday, he defeated wild card and No. 3 seed Dan Evans in two grueling hours on court, finally prevailing 6-4, 7-6.
“We have the U.S. Open next week, but I need the confidence. I need the rhythm. I’m playing at a really good level, and I would like to continue this way,” Gasquet said. “The facilities are great. Stadium Court is really nice. There’s lots of fans here. It’s always a pleasure for me.”
The Frenchman meets 22-year-old Emil Ruusuvuori who ousted 2019 Winston-Salem Open finalist and No. 12 seed Beniot Paire 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. The Finnish star won 76% of his first serve points, saving three of the four break points against him. Wednesday’s win over Paire was a follow up to Tuesday’s upset over No. 5 Alexander Bublik.
Thursday’s full schedule is available here.
Gates open at 2 p.m. for fans.