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Almagro To Face Verdasco In Acapulco QFs; Ferrer Cruises

Acapulco, Mexico

Verdasco© MextenisFernando Verdasco advanced in straight sets Wednesday.

Two-time champion Nicolas Almagro worked hard for a place in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel quarter-finals, prevailing against 99th-ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and 15 minutes on Wednesday in Acapulco. The Spanish No. 2 seed had also been extended to three sets in his first-round match against qualifier Pere Riba on Tuesday night.

Almagro, a winner of back-to-back Acapulco titles in 2008-09, improved to a 23-5 tournament record. He has now reached the quarter-finals at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament for seven straight years.

He next confronts eight-seeded countryman Fernando Verdasco, who converted three of 12 break points to defeat another two-time champion, Juan Ignacio Chela, 6-4, 6-2. Verdasco leads Almagro 4-2 in the FedEx ATP Head 2 Head, with all of their meetings contested on clay.

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“You can see that I am at a better level of game compared to the last two years,” said Verdasco of his improvement on clay. “Now I play against Almagro and our matches are always tough ones. If I win tomorrow it will mean that I am at a great level on clay as Almagro is one of the best clay players in the world, and if I lose it won’t mean that I am playing bad as I will have lost to one of the best players on clay.

“What is very clear is that I will give everything from my end to try to win against Almagro tomorrow and the next match and the tournament, but it is complicated for me to achieve that as they are very good players.”

Top seed David Ferrer stayed on course for a third straight title in Acapulco as he eased past Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 6-3, 6-3. He won 82 per cent of his first serve points and broke Kubot three times from six opportunities.

Ferrer, who improved to a 15-1 season record, will aim to continue his stellar start to the season when he next faces compatriot Pablo Andujar.

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“Today I played a good match,” said Ferrer “I usually really feel good playing here in Acapulco, it is a tournament I really enjoy coming back to. Tomorrow against Pablo I expect a tough match, he is playing well, with confidence and I will have to play my best.”

Andujar, the World No. 50, battled past fifth-seeded German Florian Mayer 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 54 minutes.

Frenchman Jeremy Chardy accounted for another seeded player, finishing strong to defeat No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-0. His quarter-final opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka, needed three sets to get by Spaniard Albert Ramos, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

In other second-round matches Wednesday, Colombian Santiago Giraldo knocked out No. 7 seed Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-4, 6-3 and Argentine Carlos Berlocq followed up his first-round upset of third seed Gilles Simon with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Italian Potito Starace

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