Almagro on the march again

Reigning champion Nicolas Almagro made it through to the quarter-finals of the SAP Open with a hard-fought victory over Chilean qualifier Paul Capdeville.

The Spaniard, looking to win the event for a third straight year in Brazil, won the last four games in the deciding set to progress 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-2.

Almagro - who also lifted the trophy back in 2008 - hammered down 18 aces to record his 20th straight victory in the clay-court tournament.

"Hopefully I'm on my way to winning another title here," said Almagro. "I've been successful in Brazil so far and I hope it continues like this for a long time."

Next up for the second seed will be David Nalbandian after he knocked out Guido Pella 6-4 6-2 in an all-Argentine second-round clash in Sao Paulo, which now hosts the tournament after it was moved from Costa do Sauipe last year.

Elsewhere, Juan Monaco lost his opening match for the third time this season, the third seed going down 7-5 6-2 to Simone Bolelli of Italy.

The world number 15 had already fallen at his first hurdle at both the Australian Open and in Vina del Mar, Chile, last week. He had his serve broken four times as Bolelli sent him packing after one hour and 16 minutes on court.

Carlos Berlocq of Argentina put an end to eighth-seeded Albert Ramos' hopes, defeating the Spaniard 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

His reward is likely to be a showdown with top seed Rafael Nadal, who meets Joao Souza of Brazil later on Thursday.