Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Pablo Carreno Busta have reached the quarter-finals at the Estoril Open claycourt tennis tournament in Portugal.
Almagro advanced on on Thursday at the expense of Portugal’s last man standing in a 4-6 6-1 6-2 defeat of Joao Sousa. The 71st-ranked Almagro, recovering his ranking after several seasons of injury, has 12 ATP titles.
The 30-year-old showed his clay pedigree with 13 aces in a win lasting an hour and three-quarters.
Almagro moved into his second quarter-final of 2016; his best showing since the start of the year was a final in Buenos Aires where he lost to Austrian Dominic Thiem.
“Playing in Portugal against the best Portuguese player in history, I knew from the start it would be a very tough match,” Almagro said.
“There were high expectations about his campaign. He was very motivated and, in the beginning, didn’t make any mistakes.
“I failed to convert the two break points for 5-5 but, afterwards, I started to play more aggressively.
“In the second set, he lost a bit of his consistency and started to make more unforced errors, whereas I started to hit the ball better and playing my tennis.”
Eighth seed Carreno Busta lifted his game in a tight second set to put out Spanish-trained Japanese Taro Daniel 6-4 7-5, breaking three times on the way to victory.
“I’m happy to win in straight sets against a really tough opponent,” said Carreno Busta, a clay finalist this season in South America.
“He fought a lot and I relaxed a bit in the second set. I had to refocus my tennis and play aggressive to win. I could have lost that set.”
French top seed Gilles Simon reached the last eight as he dismissed countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu, winner of three of their four previous meetings, 3-6 6-2 6-1. He next plays Carreno Busta.
“I’ve had four days to prepare, I played a good first match but it’s just a start,” Simon said. “I want to continue with this kind of game for three more matches if possible.
“I feel I can win here.”
Argentine seventh seed Leonardo Mayer defeated Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.