Horacio Zeballos continues his winning ways…
The 30-year-old Argentine tennis player continued his remarkable run at the Miami Open by defeating Fernando Verdasco 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 in the third round.
It was his first victory over Verdasco in three matches.
Zeballos entered the tournament only after Roger Ferderer withdrew on Friday because of a stomach virus. After losing in the qualifying final round to Yoshihito Nishioka, Zeballos was then chosen as the last of three lucky losers.
“I’m so happy,” Zeballos said. “I’m excited to be here playing with such great players. Two days ago, I was out. Now, I’m in the [fourth] round. Of course, I’m really happy and enjoying this moment like it is my first time.”
So far, he’s made the most of the second chance. He defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the second round before stunning Verdasco.
Zeballos is just the fourth lucky loser to advance to the fourth round. If he wins again, he will become the second to reach the quarterfinals. Ivan Ljubicic did it in 2001.
“These wins are very significant because they will help my ranking, and that will help me get into bigger tournaments,” Zeballos said. “The stands were full, it was my first time beating Verdasco, so it was huge for me.”
It appeared the run was over when Zeballos started slow against Verdasco. After rallying to tie the score in the second set, he faced match point while serving at 5-6 in the third. Zeballos won the set to force a tiebreaker.
“Winning that match today was the equivalent of playing seven Challengers in terms of points and winnings,” Zeballos said. “So I’m very happy, a little tired, but very excited to be for the first time in the fourth round of a Masters 1000 tournament, having won two matches against opponents who are more accomplished than me and that gives me confidence that I can play at this level and I can keep improving my game.”