David has defeated the defending champion - after two hours and eighteen minutes and despite 28 aces he defeated Nicolas Almagro 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(3) for a place in the semifinal. There, his opponent will be Simone Bolelli. It will be their first meeting.
More tomorrow plus the draw for the Copa Claro.
|(Inovaphoto; montage by VD)|
On the Tour, there are certain players David gets along with particularly well. Most of those players are either Argentineans or Spaniards, and one of the Spaniards is Nicolas Almagro. You may remember the laughter and the banter when they met at the Copa Argentina last December. And according to Almagro, "there's always some entertaining stuff that happens" in their matches. During the rallies, that is.
At São Paulo this week, everything seems to revolve around Rafa Nadal. But whenever the tournament website speaks of the "King of the Brasil Open" then it's not Rafa they're referring to but Nicolas Almagro. Champion at this event a record-breaking three times, twice at Costa do Sauipe and then also last year when it moved to São Paulo. The Golden Swing in general is usually Almagro's best part of the season.
David and Almagro (currently ranked #11) have met five times so far, with the overall match record at 3-2 in David's favour. On clay, however, it's Almagro, who leads 2-1, including the final of Acapulco 2008, which he won in straights. Whereas, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, David's only victory over Almagro on clay came in one of the last matches he played before hip surgery (at Barcelona 2009).
Nicolas Almagro is not what I'd call an easy match-up for David. Mostly because of his serve but also because he's able to simply beat David for speed with his groundstrokes. Add to that a strong backhand and the ability to exploit David's movement by going down the line. Although both of them could be struggling with their movement today, depending on the state of the (much criticised) court.
But one thing is certain - this will be the first real test for David.