It did not take long for history to be made at the 2023 Cordoba Open.
Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles won the longest match in tournament history on Monday when he defeated countryman Roberto Carballes Baena 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5 in three hours and 26 minutes to reach the second round. The previous-longest match came in 2020, when Albert Ramos-Vinolas outlasted Pablo Andujar in three hours and 20 minutes.
“It has been a battle. The conditions on clay are always with a lot of rallies and long matches, especially with two Spanish players. And I like to play these kind of matches… although not so long,” Zapata Miralles said, cracking a laugh. “It’s the first match I’ve won this year, but in the first tournament on clay. So for now the goal is to keep improving and to be able to advance in the tournaments and to take advantage of this clay swing, which is important for me.”
Zapata Miralles converted five of the 11 break points he earned in the first ATP Tour main draw match contested on clay this year. The eighth seed will next face Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan or Chilean Tomas Barrios Vera.
In his first tour-level match, #NextGenATP Italian Luciano Darderi, a qualifier, defeated Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-4, 6-3.
“It’s my first ATP [win], so I feel a lot of emotions,” Darderi said. “Playing here in Argentina for me is very special. I played very well. I got a little bit nervous in the last games, but I played really good all the match, so I am very happy for the performance today.
Dusan Lajovic, who made an ATP Masters 1000 final on clay four years ago in Monte Carlo, clawed past Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas 7-6(3), 6-3 in two hours and three minutes. The Serbian was clutch under pressure, saving eight of the 10 break points he faced to advance to a clash against defending champion Ramos-Vinolas.
Argentine wild card Juan Manuel Cerundolo, the 2021 Cordoba champion, led Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4, 1-0 when the four-time ATP Tour titlist retired. Cerundolo will try to upset top seed Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarter-finals.