Carlos Berlocq survived two match
points to outlast Pablo Carreno Busta in a marathon three-set
victory at the ATP Grand Prix Hassan II first round on Monday.
There were three breaks of serve in a back-and-forth first set in Morocco, but it was fifth seed Carreno Busta who made the breakthrough on the clay in the
ninth game before serving out for the opener.
The Spaniard continued that momentum when he broke at the start of the second, only for Berlocq to return the favour and level things up at 4-4 as the
second set headed for a tie-break.
Carreno Busta twice had the chance to progress when he led 6-5 and 7-6, but Berlocq – a semi-finalist
in Buenos Aires in February – fought back to clinch the set at the second time of asking.
The decider started with three breaks of serve and Berlocq saw four match points go begging in an epic ninth game.
The world number 65 finally wrapped up the match at the fifth time of asking on his own serve bringing an end to a contest that lasted over three hours.
Mikhail Kukushkin, seeded seventh, also faced difficulty against 2012 runner-up Albert Ramos-Vinolas before triumphing 6-1 2-6 6-3.
Dustin Brown also reached round two after defeating Andrey Kuznetsov 6-2 6-4.