French qualifier Albano Olivetti, ranked 388th and playing in the main draw of an ATP event for the first time, stunned Mardy Fish 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round of the Open 13 on Thursday.
The second-seeded US player rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to level the match. However, Olivetti jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the decider and kept his composure to earn the biggest victory of his young career.
“That’s just a number next to his name right now,” Fish said of Olivetti’s ranking. “He won’t be there for very long if he continues to play like that.”
Fish compared Olivetti’s serve to Ivo Karlovic and John Isner.
“He puts pressure on you with his serve and that’s what big servers do,” Fish said.
“He probably has one of the hardest serves I’ve ever played against. He hit me with a serve and I almost hurt my left wrist,” Fish added.
Olivetti served 23 aces, but also made nine double-faults.
Olivetti is scheduled to meet Michael Llodra in an all-French quarter-final.
Llodra downed sixth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (5).
Llodra had 19 aces and the 2010 champion won four straight points to take a 5-2 lead in the deciding tiebreaker.
Juan Martin del Potro also advanced to the quarter-finals when a right foot injury forced Nikolay Davydenko of Russia to retire with the match level at one set apiece.
The fourth-seeded Argentine lost the opening set 7-6 (6), but took the second 6-4 when Davydenko said he couldn’t continue.
Del Potro fought back in the second set, breaking for a 4-3 lead when Davydenko double-faulted. He served his 16th ace to close it out.
He will next face Richard Gasquet, who cruised past Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 6-3, 6-2.
The fifth-seeded Frenchman broke Kunitsyn’s serve three times and saved all six break points he faced. Gasquet has now reached the quarter-finals four times this season.
Del Potro paid tribute to the victims of Wednesday’s train crash in Buenos Aires by wearing a black ribbon on his T-shirt. Fifty people died when the train crashed at a downtown station.
AP, BUENOS AIRES
Seeded players Gilles Simon of France, Fernando Verdasco of Spain and local favorite Juan Monaco were knocked out in the second round of the Copa Claro on Thursday.
Carlos Berlocq of Argentina beat the third-seeded Simon 6-2, 6-1 and Igor Andreev of Russia downed No. 7 Verdasco 7-6 (3), 6-3 at the clay-court tournament.
Argentine David Nalbandian defeated No. 5 Monaco 6-3, 6-1.
One seeded player survived: No. 2 Nicolas Almagro of Spain had an easy time beating Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.
Nalbandian was to face fellow Argentine Berlocq in yesterday’s quarter-finals.