The second seed at the Argentina Open, Cristian Garin, a Chilean who, with local hero Diego Schwartzman is the second most successful current player in South America. He has won all four of his ATP titles on clay but on this occasion found himself sacrificed on the altar of the ‘Cathedral of Argentinean tennis”, namely the Buenos Aires Tennis Club, by the Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal, 6-4 6-3
I played a good match, followed my game plan and came out on top. I am enjoying being back on clay and looking forward for my next match Sumit Nagal
Nagal, currently the second best player in his country, stunned the world No,22 to make the last eight of a 250 ATP event for the first time in his career where he will face Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
“The win means a lot,” Nagal told The Hindu newspaper after his win.
“I am very happy that I am getting to play a lot of matches. Playing against my friend Garin was fun today.
“I played a good match, followed my game plan and came out on top. I am enjoying being back on clay and looking forward for my next match.”
Ramos-Vinolas is another specialist who is currently ranked 46, some 104 places above Nagal, who arrives in Buenos Aires after reaching the final of the Cordoba Open last week.
Both the Spaniard’s titles have been won clay and he also has in his resume, a final appearance in the Monte Carlo Masters in 2017 where he lost out to Rafa Nadal, the ‘King of Clay’!
Meanwhile the 23-year-old Nagal, world ranked 150, who produced a high-level performance with seven service breaks to record the best win of his career, had only won 3 matches on the Tour from 12 appearances prior to this week.
“I enjoy playing on clay,” Nagal added. “I enjoy the long rallies where you grind, you run a lot. For me, I hit a lot of forehands. I get a lot of time on clay to hit forehands, so that’s what I like.”
His next opponent, Ramos-Vinolas defeated Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-5 6-4 for his quarter-final place as the fifth seed.
In other action, the seventh seed Laslo Djere from Serbia eliminated the home favourite Federico Delbonis 7-6(3) 6-1in just more than two hours for his place in the last eight.
Also joining him in the uqrter-finals is the fourth seed, Miomir Kecmanovic rallied from a break down in the third set to beat Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 5-7 6-3 6-4.
“It was a tough match,” Kecmanovic, who is currently being coached by the former Argentinian No.1 David Nalbandian, said. “I’m happy that I played well and that I was able to come from behind and win in the end, so that’s a good thing.”
One week ago, the Serbian lost his first clay-court match of the season at the Cordoba Open against Juan Manuel Cerundolo, the youngster who triumphed over him in three sets to go on and win the tournament.
“I don’t think I had that bad of a week last week,” Kecmanovic said. “The guy won in the end, so I guess that makes it a little bit better.”
And n reference to his working relationship with Nalbandian, added: “I think we’ve been working good and I’m happy that it’s showing results.
“I’m really happy to have someone as experienced as David to help me out. I think nothing can happen overnight, so we just need some time to work on stuff.”
Kecmanovic will face Djere for a place in the semi-finals.