© Argentina Open/Sergio Llamera

Dusan Lajovic defeats Pedro Martinez in his first clay-court match of 2020 in Buenos Aires.

Lajovic Digs Deep In Buenos Aires

Ruud races into quarter-finals on Wednesday

Dusan Lajovic proved on Wednesday at the Argentina Open that he can never be counted out. The third-seeded Serbian erased two set points in the opening set and three more in the second set before defeating Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez 7-6(6), 7-6(6) to reach the quarter-finals in Buenos Aires.

Lajovic fought back from 4/6 in the first-set tie-break and erased three set points on his serve at 5-6 in the second set, two of which were removed by clean winners. The 29-year-old also clawed back from 1/5 in the second-set tie-break before advancing in two hours and eight minutes.

The Serbian improved to 7-3 this year. Lajovic helped guide Serbia to the title last month at the inaugural ATP Cup (d. Spain) and advanced to the third round at the Australian Open. He currently sits at a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 23.

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Awaiting him in the next round is eighth seed Casper Ruud, who ruthlessly dismissed Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-0 in 58 minutes. The Norwegian launched winners from all parts of the court and was particularly potent in return games, winning 24 of 39 return points to break Carballes Baena five times.

Brazilian Thiago Monteiro scored one of the biggest wins in his career by upsetting fourth-seeded Croatian Borna Coric 6-4, 7-6(6). Monteiro let slip a match point at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break by missing a routine overhead smash, but regrouped and blasted a baseline winner two points later to advance in one hour and 46 minutes. The World No. 92 is through to his first tour-level quarter-final since 2018 Hamburg.

Monteiro will face Portuguese lucky loser Pedro Sousa for a place in the semi-finals. Sousa snuck into the main draw when Cristian Garin withdrew, but the 31-year-old is making the most of his opportunity. He defeated Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik 7-6(3), 7-6(5) in the first match of the day for his maiden ATP Tour quarter-final.

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