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Dolgopolov, Istomin Fall In Casablanca Openers

Casablanca, Morocco

Garcia-Lopez © El KhaouaGuillermo Garcia-Lopez advances to the Casablanca quarter-finals.

Two of the top four seeds, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Denis Istomin, fell in their opening matches Wednesday at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca.

Second seed Dolgopolov bowed out against Italian Flavio Cipolla 6-4, 6-1, losing serve four times during the 62-minute match. The 22-year-old Ukrainian was looking for his first win in Casablanca, having lost on his main draw debut in 2010 and in the first round of qualifying in 2007.

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The 85th-ranked Cipolla will next face 102nd-ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire, who prevailed against German Matthias Bachinger 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2 after two hours and 34 minutes.

Cipolla and Paire have both set personal-best season marks this week in Casablanca, with each picking up their seventh match win of 2012 by reaching the quarter-finals.

Istomin, the No. 4 seed, was unable to hold onto to lead in his second round match against Igor Andreev as the Russian rallied for a 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2 victory. Andreev took better advantage of his break point opportunities, going 4 for 10, while Istomin only managed to convert one of his nine chances.

“It was a difficult match in difficult conditions [a lot of wind],” said Andreev. “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.”

Andreev will attempt to reach the Casablanca semi-finals for the second time when he next plays Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.  The Spaniard accounted for 2007 champion Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-2, beating the Frenchman for the first time in three career meetings.

“For me it's always very difficult to play against Paul-Henri,” said Garcia-Lopez. “I never won against him before. Today I played better than in the first match, I was more solid and consistent.”

Garcia-Lopez was a quarter-finalist on his last appearance at this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament in 2010 (l. to Serra), and will take an 0-2 record into his match against Andreev. “He's a very strong clay court player,” he said. “He's very powerful and has a great game.”

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