Top-seeded Almagro breezes into Brazil semis

Defending champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain defeated Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 Friday to reach the clay-court Brazil Open semifinals.

Almagro, seeded first and ranked No. 11, will play in an all-Spanish semifinal Saturday against Albert Ramos. Ramos, seeded eighth, beat third-seeded Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a quarterfinal between left-handers.

Almagro was in command at the Ibirapuera sporting complex, allowing only one break opportunity to the fifth-seeded Berlocq. Almagro converted three of his 11 break points and served six aces.

"I played great today,'' Almagro said. "Now it's about resting and start thinking about the semifinals.''

Almagro needed a wild card to enter the tournament because he initially wasn't certain he could commit because of Davis Cup duties with Spain. He also won the Brazil Open in 2008.

Filippo Volandri of Italy also reached the semis, rallying to defeat Argentina's David Nalbandian 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. He will face local favorite Tomaz Bellucci, who beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

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