Guillermo Garcia-Lopez put on a strong serving performance to seal a comfortable victory over Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-3 at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy tournament in Bucharest as he got his title defense underway.
The two players had never met before and were at the opposite end of their respective careers, with Garcia-Lopez aged 37 and Edmund just 21. The British number three was on debut here in his first clay court tournament of the season and secured an excellent victory over former champion Lukas Rosol in the last round.
Fast start for the fourth seed
Edmund, the lower ranked player at 91 in the world, was put under pressure immediately in his opening service game down break point, but responded to hold after a second game point to take a 1-0 lead. In the third game the pressure on the Brits serve continued and this time proved to be more telling, as the fourth seed broke serve to 15.
After a series of successive service holds it was Edmund who was under pressure once again when serving to stay in the opening set. The British number three saved the first set point, but could not save a second as Garcia-Lopez wrapped up the set 6-3, dropping just three points behind his first and three points behind his second serve.
The Spaniard remains dominant on serve in the second set
The second game of the second set was a real marathon as the world number 37 continued to apply the pressure on the 21-year-old's serve. Garcia-Lopez had three break point chances at 0-40, yet the British number three resisted, saving all three break points before seeing three opportunities to hold pass him by. Edmund saved another two break points before eventually coming through the service game on his sixth game point to level at one game all.
Neither player faced any real adversity on serve until the latter stages of the set, where Edmund came out to serve trailing 4-3. Having led 30-0 the Spaniard won three points in a row to earn his fourth break point chance of the set. The world number 91 saved the first and second break point, but could not save a third as the fourth seed moved within one game of a place in the quarterfinals.
Garcia-Lopez remained as solid as he had been throughout the match on serve, closing the game out to love to seal a 6-3, 6-3 win in one hour and 21 minutes. The world number 37 made 76% of his first serves in and won 17 out of 19 points behind his first serve in the second set, a definitive factor as to why he remained so dominant on serve, not giving his opponent a single break point chance.
The fourth seed advances to play Guido Pella on Friday, with the Argentinean seeded six for this event. Pella leads their head to head 1-0 in a match which promises to be a close run affair.