Having received a bye in the first round, Stefanos Tsitsipas, who’s seeded second, kick-started his Sofia Open campaign with a rock solid performance to beat a fiesty Jan Lennard Struff 7-6, 6-4 and advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Fresh off a run to the semifinals of the Australian Open in January, Tsitsipas did well to fend off a strong challenge from Struff, while enjoying the support of a partisan crowd in the Bulgarian capital, before sealing victory.
“For the first time I play as if I was at home,” said Tsitsipas. “I felt confident and I hope I will continue to show a good performance. Struff played very well but I was lucky in some of the games and it helped me a lot.”
Up next for the Greek is Frenchman, Gael Monfils, who defeated Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 7-5, 6-3.
Spanish left-hander, Fernando Verdasco also secured his place in the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win over Romania’s Marius Copil.
Copil, who was a finalist in 2018, rained down 10 aces on Verdasco, but couldn’t contain the Spaniard in the final set.
Verdasco will now take on Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who stunned top seed Karen Khachanov with a three-set win in the second round on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, third seed Daniil Medvedev rallied from a set down to beat Dutchman, Robin Haase 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 and also seal a quarterfinal berth. He faces Slovakia’s Martin Klizan, who overcame German qualifier Daniel Brands 7-6, 6-4, next.