Moya, Massu Set to Clash in Acapulco; Nalbandian, Canas also in Action

Posted on February 27, 2008

Top four seeds David Nalbandian, Carlos Moya, Juan Monaco and Guillermo Canas are all bidding for quarterfinal spots at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, a $794,000 event contested on clay.

Top-seeded Argentine David Nalbandian begins the evening session on Center Court against unseeded Spaniard Santiago Ventura. Nalbandian won their one previous meeting in four sets at the 2005 Australian Open. The 26-year-old Nalbandian, who moved back into the Top 10 (No. 8) of the South African Airways ATP Rankings this week after last week’s title victory in Buenos Aires (d. Acasuso), defeated Boris Pashanski in the first round here. He has never been past the second round in Acapulco on his previous two visits in 2002 (l. to Coutelot Rd.1) and 2003 (l. to Zabaleta Rd.2). The 28-year-old Ventura is through to the second round of an ATP-level main draw for just the second time this season, having lost first round in Doha, Melbourne, Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires; however, in Vina del Mar recently he reached his first ATP semifinal (l. to Monaco) since ’07 Valencia. He defeated Mexican wild card Ramirez in the first round to improve to 4-5 for the season. World No. 68 Ventura has a 0-2 record against Top 10 players, falling to Nalbandian at the ’05 Australian Open and to No. 5 Novak Djokovic in ’07 Estoril.

Second in the evening session, not before 8.30pm, unseeded Chilean Nicolas Massu takes on second-seeded Spaniard Carlos Moya. Their head-to-head series is tied 2-2, twice they have met on clay with Moya winning at 2006 Buenos Aires and Massu winning at ’06 Amersfoot. World No. 96 Massu (former No. 9, 13-Sep-04) is through to the second round of an ATP singles event for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals in Auckland (l. to Ferrero) at the start of the year, having lost first round in Melbourne, Vina del Mar, Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires. Appearing in Acapulco for the eighth time, the 28-year-old has twice been a quarterfinalist here, falling to Fernando Verdasco in 2004 and Juan Ignacio Chela last year. With his first round victory over Werner Eschauer, Moya improved his tournament lifetime to 22-5. The 31-year-old Spaniard is a two-time champion in Acapulco, lifting the trophy in 2002 (d. Meligeni) and 2004 (d. Verdasco). World No. 13 Moya is 9-5 on the season, having reached his 43rd (20-23) career ATP singles final recently in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Almagro) and made the semifinals in Chennai (l. to Nadal).

First on Court 2, beginning at 3pm, sixth-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro challenges unseeded Italian Filippo Volandri. The pair has met six times previously (3-3) with Almagro winning their most recent encounter in the quarterfinals of ’08 Costa do Sauipe. World No. 28 Almagro has gone 10-1 on clay so far this season, including claiming his third career ATP singles title in Costa do Sauipe (d. Moya) and reaching the quarterfinals last week in Buenos Aires (ret. vs Chela). The 22-year-old is a former semifinalist in Acapulco (l. to Chela ’06) and last year reached the quarterfinals (l. to Moya). World No. 41 Volandri is 7-5 on the season, having recently reached the quarterfinals in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Almagro) and the semifinals in Buenos Aires (l. to Acasuso). The 26-year-old Italian is bidding to reach his third quarterfinal in Acapulco, he fell to Moya in 2004 and Montanes in 2005.

Following on Court 2 is an all-Argentine clash between unseeded Jose Acasuso and fourth seed Guillermo Canas. Canas won their only previous encounter in straight sets in Basel last year. World No. 46 Acasuso, a finalist in Buenos Aires last week (l. to Nalbandian), continued his fine run of form with a first round victory over Oscar Hernandez. He was also a quarterfinalist in Vina del Mar (l. to Cuevas). Contesting Acapulco for the sixth time, the 25-year-old Acasuso reached the quarterfinals last year (l. to Calleri.) The 31-year-old Canas claimed his first win of the season in the first round here over Carlos Berlocq having been forced to miss the first two months of the season with left wrist tendonitis. The World No. 22 has reached the quarterfinals or better at this event on four occasions. On his last appearance here in 2005 he fell to eventual winner Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Not before 6pm on Court 2, third-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco faces unseeded Peruvian Luis Horna. The pair has met five times previously (3-2) all on clay, with Monaco winning their last three matches, most recently in straight sets in the Poertschach semifinals last year. Monaco has a 10-3 season record after his round one win against Brzezicki. The World No. 23 recorded a semifinal result on hard courts in Auckland and a runner-up finish on clay in Vina del Mar. He sprained his left ankle in the Vina del Mar doubles final and had to withdraw from singles final. He returned last week in a first round upset at Buenos Aires, where he was the defending champion (l. to Calleri). World No. 131 Horna captured the Acapulco title in 2006 (d. Chela) but he has had a slow start in singles action this season - his best results the second round in Vina del Mar and Buenos Aires. However the 27-year-old has enjoyed doubles success with titles at Auckland (w/Monaco) and last week in Buenos Aires (w/Calleri). (ATP Digital Services)