Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat Serbian Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Tuesday to advance to the round of 16 of the Rio Open clay court tournament. It was the 38-year-old's first win in an ATP 500 competition since 2019.
Verdasco, formerly a top-10 player, is now ranked 172nd after a series of injuries. He will face Argentinian Federico Coria for a place in the quarterfinals.
“It is a very important tournament for me. It had been a long time since I last could play a tournament like this because of the surgeries I had in my elbow, in my knee,” an emotional Verdasco said after the match. “I want to be back among the best, play the biggest tournaments, the Grand Slams. These weeks in South America will add a lot.”
Coria eliminated the 5th-seeded player, Christian Garin of Chile, 6-2, 6-0.
Also on Tuesday, 8th-seeded Albert Ramos Viñolas beat Argentinian Juan Londero 6-3, 6-4. The Spaniard will face his countryman Pablo Andujar in the next round.
Carlos Alcaraz advances to round of 16 at Rio Open
Argentina's Federico Delbonis topped Colombia's Daniel Galan 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. He will face 18-year-old Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, the 29th-best ranked in the circuit.
Italy's Lorenzo Sonego, the sixth seed, beat Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-2, 6-0. His round-of-16 opponent is Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.
Another Italian, Fabio Fognini, overcame Argentina's Facundo Bagnis 6-2, 6-4. He will face fourth-seed Pablo Carreño Busta on Wednesday.
Brazilian fans had their share of joy after Thiago Monteiro bested Argentina's Sebastián Baez 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. The home-crowd favorite will play against top seed Matteo Berretini of Italy, ranked No. 6.
Norway’s Casper Ruud, the 8th-best-ranked, is also playing in the tournament. He will face Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo, who beat France's Benoit Paire 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.