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Almagro Opens Golden Quest; Daniel Saves 1 M.P.

Viña del Mar, Chile

Almagro© Jim RydellNicolas Almagro reaches the Vina del Mar quarter-finals for the first time.

Nicolas Almagro began his bid to claim the one ‘Golden Swing’ title missing from his collection with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Argentine qualifier Martin Alund on Thursday at the Royal Guard Open Chile.

The third-seeded Spaniard, making his first Vina del Mar appearance since 2006, dropped serve once and capitalised on two of his three break points to reach the quarter-finals for the first time at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

"I’m happy because I knew that the match was tough, but I think I played good tennis," said Almagro. "I was focused all the time on court.”

Six of Almagro’s 12 clay-court titles have come in Latin America: two in Acapulco (2008-09) and Costa Do Sauipe (2008, ’11) and one in Buenos Aires (2011) and Sao Paulo (2012).

The World No. 18 next meets 21-year-old Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who reached the quarter-finals in his first ATP World Tour event after saving one match point down 6-7 in the third set tie-break. He prevailed against eighth-seeded Argentine Federico Delbonis 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(7) after two hours and 51 minutes, despite winning 111 points to Delbonis's 123.

Watch Daniel Interview

Daniel, who was born in New York and trains in Valencia, had beaten former champion Thomaz Bellucci on Tuesday to record his first tour-level win. He is currently No. 226 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

"I’m having a really good week," said Daniel. "Playing really good, enjoying it a lot here, that’s the most important thing. I don’t want to think of it as a dream run or anything because I think that my level has been this high, it’s just I haven’t made a result like this. Hopefully I can keep making results like this in the future and this is definitely an unforgettable week."

Read: Daniel Plays To His Own Tune

Top seed Fabio Fognini, who led Italy into the Davis Cup quarter-finals with victory over Argentina over the weekend, opened his Vina del Mar campaign with a 6-4, 7-6(0) win over Slovenian Aljaz Bedene. The 26 year old is through to the quarter-finals for the third time in four appearances at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

Fognini will next play fifth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who defeated Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 7-6(5). Chardy will be looking to reach the Vina del Mar semi-finals for a third straight year.

Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver backed up his first-round win over Alexandr Dolgopolov by ousting defending champion Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 20 minutes. Zeballos had upset Rafael Nadal in last year's final to claim his first ATP World Tour title.

Granollers/Lopez Lead Seeds Into SFs
Top seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez reached the semi-finals by defeating Italian Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace 6-4, 6-4, while the other two seeded teams in action needed to rally from a set down to advance.

Second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah prevailed against Chilean wild cards Christian Garin and Nicolas Jarry 4-6, 6-3, 10-8, while third seeds Oliver Marach and Florin Mergea edged Italians Paolo Lorenzi and Filippo Volandri 2-6, 6-3, 10-7.

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