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Gonzalez, Monaco Set Up Vina Rematch

Vina del Mar, Chile

Juan MonacoJim RydellJuan Monaco In Action

Defending champion and top seed Fernando Gonzalez prevailed in a challenging second round opener against Maximo Gonzalez, defeating the 113th-ranked Argentine 7-5, 7-6(7) in two hours and seven minutes on Wednesday at the Movistar Open in Vina del Mar.

"Maximo played a good match. I didn't know him very well so it was a bit of a challenge for me in the beginning to figure out his game," said World No. 18 Gonzalez, who improved to a 26-5 record at his home country ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament. 

The 28 year old has now reached the quarter-finals in seven straight Movistar Open appearances. He clinched the title in 2002 (d. Lapentti), ’04 (d. Kuerten) and ’08 (w/o vs. Monaco) and was also a runner-up in ’05 (l. to Gaudio).

Gonzalez takes a 2-0 head-to-head record into his next match against Argentine fifth seed Juan Monaco (pictured), whom he was supposed to play in last year’s final. Monaco was forced to withdraw prior to the match after spraining his ankle in the doubles championship.

Gonzalez said: "I like to play in Vina del Mar, with the support from the crowd, in front of my family and friends. Against Monaco it will be a tough match. He is a great player."

The 24-year-old Monaco, who converted four of his nine break point chances en route to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Potito Starace, is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the 2009 tennis season. He began the year with a second round loss at Auckland (l. to Troicki) and bowed out in his opener at the Australian Open (l. to Tsonga).

"It is always great to be playing in Vina del Mar," said Monaco. "This is the first tournament I play on clay since Roland Garros last year. This is the surface I play my best tennis so you can imagine that when January comes around I'm already thinking about the Latin American clay court swing. I feel that after a tough 2008 I have been able to put my game back together. I feel confident going into the quarter-finals. Fernando will have the support of the crowd but the people here have always treated me very well, so I hope for a good match."

Uruguayan qualifier Pablo Cuevas advanced to the Vina del Mar quarter-finals for the second straight year after upsetting third-seeded Spaniard Albert Montanes 7-6(2), 6-4. Coming into the week, the 171st-ranked Cuevas had not won an ATP World Tour singles match since last July at Amersfoort.

Cuevas’s best ATP World Tour showing in singles action came at this event last year, when he reached the semi-finals with wins over Guillermo Coria, Fernando Verdasco and Jose Acasuso (l. to F. Gonzalez). Later in the season, he clinched the Roland Garros doubles title with Peruvian Luis Horna.

Cuevas will next face Chile's No. 3 tennis player, wild card Paul Capdeville, who advanced to the quarter-finals at his home country tournament for the first time in five event appearances after defeating Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-4, 6-3. Capdeville, currently No. 102 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, opened the 2009 season with a runner-up finish at the Challenger-level tennis tournament at Sao Paulo (l. to Mello).

"I'm very happy with my game this week," said Capdeville." It is always more special to play in front of my home crowd, and today they helped me a lot. During the day the conditions are a bit faster and this suits my game. I was able to play aggressive and dictate the points. Gimeno-Traver is a good player, especially on clay, so this gives me confidence to face Cuevas."

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© Neven Gerencir

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