Cordoba Open quarter-finals recap: Bela upsets ex-partners in three-setter

The Cervezas Victoria Cordoba Open quarter-finals saw Fernando Belasteguín lock horns with his two previous partners in 'Sanyo' Gutiérrez and Agustín Tapia

Cordoba Open quarter-finals recap: Bela upsets ex-partners in three-setter

The Palacio Vistalegre was witness to eight of the best padel duos in the world square off for half as many tickets to the semis in the Cordoba Open quarter-finals.

Fittingly, the eight pairs left in the quarter-finals were the top-eight seeded sides. However, not all of the top four made it through to the final four on Saturday. Here is what happened on Friday afternoon and evening in Cordoba.

READ: Women's Cordoba Open quarter-finals: Triay and Salazar survive match point in three-set epic

Coello/Belasteguín (6) vs. Gutiérrez/Tapia (3) (3-6 / 7-6(4) / 6-1)

To start things off at centre court, we had legend Fernando Belasteguín and his teenage partner Arturo Coello play against two of Bela's ex-team-mates in Carlos Sanyo Gutiérrez and Agustín Tapia.

Both pairs were only playing their second tournament alongside each other, Bela and Sanyo being teamed up beforehand and winning three tournaments this year. And Bela's two Argentinian ex-partners were the ones in charge of the first set. With Tapia's power and determination, combined with Gutiérrez' excellent anticipation and reading of the game, they managed to win the opening frame 6-3.

The game looked to be going one way, especially when Tapia and Gutiérrez got an early break in the second set as well. Bela then took the reins, however, leading the charge as he and Coello counter-broke multiple times to draw level. A tie break was forced, and in it, again it was close. The so-called mini-break came late, and we would have a third set: 7-6(4).

Bela and Coello seemed to have broken the spirit of their opponents. While after the first set it looked like the three-seed would advance, the teenager Coello and veteran Belasteguín blasted their way through the final act with ruthlessness. The three-setter with three Argentinians finished 3-67-6(4)6-1.

Agus, I love him like a son. I was with him for almost a year and a half, our Master Final last year was a beautiful story. But when you’re on the court, you only want yourself and your team to win.
Fernando Belasteguín on facing former partner Agustín Tapia

'Bela' (left) catching up with former team-mates 'Sanyo' Gutiérrez (right) and Agustín Tapia (bottom)

Navarro/Di Nenno (2) vs. Lima/Ruiz (7) (6-3 / 7-6 (4))

Next in the Cordoba open quarter-finals was a game with a former number one on each side. Paquito Navarro and Martín di Nenno faced Brazilian Pablo Lima and Javier Ruiz.

Things looked to go one way initially, when Lima and Ruiz got the first break of the match. The script was flipped right after, however, with Navarro and Di Nenno not only counter-breaking but getting a second one as well to take the lead. They would hold on to this advantage despite the number seven pair's best efforts.

The second set started in the same fashion as the one that came before it. Lima and Ruiz got the break, but held on to it for longer this time round. They almost closed out the set to force a decider, but Paquito and Di Nenno showed up when they had to. The men of the moment broke and forced a tiebreak, which they duly won. The score ended with 6-37-6, and Navarro and Di Nenno are in their seventh straight semi-finals.

Galán/Lebrón (1) vs. Sánchez/Capra (8) (6-3 / 6-2)

The third of the men's games at centre court saw the number ones, Alejandro Galán and Juan Lebrón, continue their quest for a third-straight tournament win. They faced the eighth seed in Maximiliano Sánchez and Luciano Capra.

Against all expectations, the game started on equal footing. The six-time tournament winners in 2021 were not playing their best padel, and Maxi and Lucho took advantage to force the number ones into mistakes. At 4-3, however, Galán and Lebrón would get the break, and started to improve after it. They took the first set 6-3.

It felt like Sánchez and Capra missed their window, as Galán and Lebrón only grew stronger in the second set. A crucial gold point at 3-1 went their way as well after a gorgeous rally, which felt like the final nail in the coffin as there was no more way out.

Sánchez and Capra, who won the Valladolid Master 2021, were dispatched by the number ones. 6-3, 6-2 was the final score as Galán and Lebrón march on.

Chingotto/Tello (4) vs. Stupaczuk/Ruiz (5) (6-4 / 3-6 / 2-6)

The nightcap on Friday was between neighbouring pairs in the rankings, and a rematch of the Menorca Open quarter-finals. Argentinian partners Federico Chingotto and Juan Tello played fellow countryman Alex Stupaczuk and his Spanish team-mate Alejandro Ruiz.

Beautiful padel was on display in the first set, which was very closely contested. The first blow was dealt by Chingotto and Tello at 4-4, as they broke and served for the set: 6-4.

A reaction was needed from Stupa and Ruiz, and after a talking-to from manager Carlos Pozzoni, it came. They took initiative in the second set and quickly established a 3-0 lead. Tello and Chingotto tried to get back in, but to no avail, and just like in Menorca, it went to a deciding set: 3-6.

With already an hour-and-a-half gone, the third set started. Stupa and Spaniard Ruiz had the crowd behind them, and they fed off the support to get a break at 1-1. Not only would they hold on, but they broke again to confirm their place in the semi-finals. On Saturday, they will play Galán and Lebrón.

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