Igor Andreev looks to reach the ATP Casablanca semis for the second time when he takes on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Friday.
Andreev may have once been a top 20 player but you here little of him these days and it was quite a surprise to see the Russian pop up and defeat in-form fourth seed Denis Istomin 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.
“It was a difficult match in difficult conditions [a lot of wind],” the Russian said. “I'm happy that I managed to win and qualify for the quarter-finals. This is a good event for me. I only played here once before and reached the semi-final back in 2009. Denis has been playing very well lately and this win gives me a lot of confidence.”
Garcia-Lopez briefly hit the headlines last month with a spectacular win over Andy Murray in Indian Wells and he's enjoyed a decent week too so far in Morocco. The Spaniard ousted Italian eighth seed Fabio Fognini 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the opening round before taking out former champion Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday.
“For me it's always very difficult to play against Paul-Henri,” he said afterwards. “I never won against him before. Today I played better than in the first match, I was more solid and consistent."
Andreev leads 2-0 on the head-to-head and Garcia-Lopez is expecting a tough clash. “He's a very strong clay court player,” he told the press. “He's very powerful and has a great game.”
Prediction: Andreev in three.