Sao Paulo: Top-seeded defending champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain defeated Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semifinals of the Brazil Open.
The 11th-ranked Almagro dominated the match at the Ibirapuera sporting complex, allowing only one break opportunity to the fifth-seeded Berlocq.
Almagro converted three of his 11 break points and took advantage of his six aces to overcome the Argentine in 1 hour, 30 minutes in South America's biggest city.
"I played great today," Almagro said. "Now it's about resting and start thinking about the semifinals."
Almagro's semifinal opponent will be Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos, who upset third-seeded Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (5), 6-3. The eighth-seeded Ramos won 79 percent of his first serve points, breaking Verdasco once in the second set to win the match between left-handers in the indoor clay-court tournament.
Almagro needed a wild card to try to defend his title because he initially wasn't certain if he would make the tournament because of his Davis Cup duties with Spain. He also won the Brazil Open in 2008.
Filippo Volandri of Italy came from a set down to defeat David Nalbandian 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, setting up a semifinal against local favorite Tomaz Bellucci, who beat Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in a nearly identical scoreline, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.