• Almagro, Verdasco in Sao Paulo quarterfinal action

    2/17/12 5:10 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Almagro, Verdasco in Sao Paulo quarterfinal action Nicolas Almagro will continue his Sao Paulo campaign on Friday against Carlos Berlocq. Fernando Verdasco and Albert Ramos are also taking the court.

    (1) Nicolas Almagro vs. (5) Carlos Berlocq

    Almagro and Berlocq will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they do battle in the Brasil Open quarterfinals on Friday. Their only previous encounter came last year on the clay courts of Nice, where Almagro prevailed 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3. The 11th-ranked Spaniard is maintaining his fine form in 2012. He reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, beat Andrey Golubev in a Davis Cup rubber, and survived Victor Hanescu in three sets on Thursday.

    Berlocq also played stellar tennis in 2011 and is showing no signs of slowing down this season. The 42nd-ranked Argentine is an outstanding 8-3 for the year and finished runner-up on the first leg of the "Golden Swing" in Vina del Mar. So far in Sao Paulo, Berlocq has taken out Eric Prodon and Potito Starace. An upset is definitely possible, but look for Almagro to advance in three sets.

    (3) Fernando Verdasco vs. (8) Albert Ramos

    Verdasco is looking to the clay courts of South America to reverse his 2012 fortunes. The 27th-ranked Spaniard got crushed by David Ferrer in the Auckland semis then lost in the Australian Open first round to Bernard Tomic. Verdasco almost saw the slump continue on Thursday, but he survived his Sao Paolo opener against Javier Marti 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5.

    Up next for the No. 3 seed is Ramos, whom he has never faced. The 24-year-old Spaniard is up to a career-high ranking of No. 64 in the world but he was just 1-4 in 2012 prior to this tournament. So far this week, Ramos has dismissed both Santiago Giraldo and Igor Andreev in straight sets. Verdasco in a tight three-setter is the pick.

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