Nalbandian powers into last eight
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:05
The top-seeded Argentinian, who crushed American Bobby Reynolds 6-1 6-1 in the opening round, reinforced his status as heavy favourite – he is the only top-30 player in the field – as he comprehensively outclassed Johansson.
The world number seven will now face seventh seed Albert Montanes in the last eight as he looks to take another step towards the ninth title of his career.
Montanes advanced to the quarter-finals of a tournament for the first time since mid-July as he fought back to overcome Swiss qualifier George Bastl 1-6 6-3 6-2.
Second seed Mario Ancic was forced to battle to see off Belgian Steve Darcis in a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory and book his place in the quarter-finals.
Currently ranked 31st in the world, Ancic is seeking his first title since since 2006 when he faces Japanese wildcard Kei Nishikori.
Nishikori, who upset eighth seed Marcel Granollers in the opening round, advanced with a 6-1 1-6 7-5 triumph over Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty.
It is the first time the 18-year-old has reached an ATP quarter-final since his remarkable title run at Delray Beach in February.
Nishikori upset top-seeded James Blake in the final of that event to become the first Japanese player since 1992 to win on the ATP tour. Having begun the year ranked 289th, Nishikori has risen to 77th on the world and will be facing Ancic for the first time.
“This is the first time I’m winning so constantly and it surprises me,” Nishikori said.