Almagro, Volandri advance to Brazil Open final
SAO PAULO (AP) -- Defending champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain defeated countryman Albert Ramos 6-4, 7-6 (4) Saturday to reach the Brazil Open final.
The top-seeded Almargo will play for the title Sunday against Italy's Filippo Volandri, who eliminated fourth-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 5-7, 6-0, 6-2.
Almagro, the winner in Brazil in 2008 and 2011, broke the eighth-seeded Ramos once in each set at the Ibirapuera sporting complex.
Trying to win his 11th ATP Tour title, Almagro needed a wild card to play the indoor clay-court event. He wasn't sure at first he could commit to the tournament because of his Davis Cup duties with Spain.
"Ramos is a great player, he knows how to defend well," Almagro said. "He has a great serve, but gladly I've been serving well too recently."
Almagro has a chance to become the most successful player in Brazil with three titles. It would be his 11th ATP Tour title.
He needed a wild card to play the indoor clay-court event in Brazil because he initially wasn't certain if he would make the tournament because of his Davis Cup duties with Spain. He also reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.
It is the eighth straight time a Spaniard has made it to the Brazil Open final, and they have five wins.
Fourth-seeded Bellucci won the first set against Volandri but couldn't keep up with the Italian at the end despite the support from the crowd in South America's biggest city. Volandri had 18 break opportunities, converting on six of them.
The match was even until Volandri broke Bellucci at 2-2 in the third set, taking control from then on as the Brazilian became exhausted.
"I was very tired, I couldn't even see the ball during some points," Bellucci said. "I had pain in my entire body. I kept telling myself not to give up and keep fighting until the end, but I couldn't do it today."
The match lasted 2 hours, 33 minutes, just three minutes less than Bellucci's quarterfinal against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina on Friday.
"(Friday's) match was very tough and I couldn't recover for today," Bellucci said.
It is the seventh ATP final for Volandri, who will be trying to win his third singles title, the first since 2006.
Sao Paulo is hosting the event for the first time after 11 editions in the northeastern city of Costa do Sauipe. The tournament moved indoors because of the rainy weather in Sao Paulo this time of the year.