Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain outlasted hometown favorite David Nalbandian in three sets on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa Claro in the Argentine capital.
Ferrer, the defending champion and No. 4 in the ATP rankings, won 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 and to set up a clash with Fabio Fognini of Italy.
No. 2 Nicolas Almagro of Spain also reached the quarter-finals on Thursday, defeating Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 7-6 (7/5), 6-2. Almagro faces Federico Delbonis of Argentina in the next round.
Ferrer and Almagro met in last year’s final, and they are headed that way again.
Nalbandian started quickly, winning the first, set but began to struggle to hold serve in the second. Ferrer took that set, breaking Nalbandian in the final game. After that, the Argentine offered little resistance going down 6-0.
“David [Nalbandian] is a player who dominates from the start,” Ferrer said. “I knew to beat him it would have to be a long match — beating him physically.”
Almagro also struggled in his first set.
“It was not a very good match for me,” he said. “The important thing is being in the quarter-finals again.”
Almagro won this tournament two years ago and was the runner-up last year to Ferrer. This is his sixth appearance in the quarter-finals.
“It’s always nice coming here,” he said. “I feel really good and I feel loved by the people here. Six times in the quarter-finals says a lot, and a title, too.”
AP, MARSEILLE, France
Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro beat Michael Llodra 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 to reach the Open 13 quarter-finals on Thursday.
Del Potro hit 14 aces and saved nine of the 10 break points he faced as he was pushed all the way by the veteran Frenchman in a rematch of last year’s final.
“It was very, very tough. It shows the level of the tournament is so high,” del Potro said.
“I think I played a very good level at the end of the match. He played well throughout the match. I needed luck to beat him today, because he deserved to win the match as well,” the Argentine said.
The 2009 US Open champion faces another Frenchman, Gilles Simon, in the last eight after he advanced to his third straight quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Roberto Bautista-Agut, although Simon’s serve was again not at its best. He broke his Spanish opponent seven times, but conceded three breaks of his own.
Meanwhile, Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov also advanced after he upset fourth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
Tursunov, a semi-finalist at the tournament two years ago, saved the four break points he faced and twice broke the Serb. He next plays Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Seventh-seeded Jerzy Janowicz of Poland beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (0), 6-3, setting up a quarter-final with top-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.