He may be playing on a wild card at the Brazil Open… But Thomaz Bellucci is proving he’s worth the spot.
The 26-year-old Brazilian tennis player pulled off an upset win over Santiago Giraldo, defeating the Colombian – the tournament’s eight seed – 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round of the Brazil Open.
The home-crowd favorite broke Giraldo’s serve to go up 4-2 in the final set, then held on to close out the match in just over two hours at the Ibirapuera arena. The break came right after Giraldo called for treatment on his lower back in between games.
Belluci, ranked No. 108 in the world, had six aces, including three in the decisive set.
“I couldn’t hold on to a 3-0 lead in the first set but I started playing better after that,” Bellucci said. “It makes a big difference to be playing at home with the support of the fans. They got behind me and I got to play more aggressively toward the end. It made a huge difference.”
Bellucci beat Giraldo in three sets last week at the Rio Open. He’ll next face Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer in the second round.
But Belluci isn’t the only Latino playing well in the tournament…
Earlier Tuesday, Brazilian qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva defeated sixth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in 2 hours, 17 minutes. Albert Montanes of Spain beat Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-2, 6-2, while Federico Delbonis of Argentina defeated Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-1, 6-2.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal is not playing at the clay-court tournament this year. He won the Rio Open last week.
Second-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain will play Delbonis, while third-seeded Marcel Granollers plays Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Argentina’s Juan Monaco, who had a bye in the first round along with the other top seeds, debuts against countrymen Guido Pella.