SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Defending champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain defeated Chilean qualifier Paul Capdeville 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Brazil Open on Thursday.
The 11th-ranked Almagro won the last four games to stay on track for his third straight title in Sao Paulo -- and fourth overall. Almagro won the tournament for the first time in 2008 and then in 2011-12.
"Hopefully I'm on my way to winning another title here," said Almagro, who served 18 aces in a match at the indoor clay-court tournament that lasted nearly two hours. "I've been successful in Brazil so far and I hope it continues like this for a long time."
The second-seeded Spaniard will face the winner of the all-Argentine match between David Nalbandian and Guido Pella.
The Brazil Open is Almagro's first tournament since his five-set loss to compatriot David Ferrer in the Australian Open quarterfinals in January.
Earlier in the day, third-seeded Juan Monaco lost an opening-round match for the third time this season, falling to Simone Bolelli of Italy 7-5, 6-2.
The 15th-ranked Argentine had his service broken four times in the second-round loss at the Ibirapuera arena.
Monaco, who had a bye in the first round, lost his opening match at the Australian Open and last week in Vina del Mar, Chile.
The 80th-ranked Bolelli needed 1 hour, 16 minutes to defeat Monaco and advance to the quarterfinals in Brazil.
Also Thursday, Carlos Berlocq of Argentina beat eighth-seeded Albert Ramos of Spain 7-6 (7), 6-4.
Berlocq will likely face top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who will first meet 140th-ranked Joao Souza of Brazil. The Spaniard withdrew from the doubles on Wednesday to preserve his injured left knee after having won the first match alongside Nalbandian.
Nadal and Almagro have been some of the many players complaining of bad court conditions in Sao Paulo, arguing the surface is too slippery and dangerous to players' health.
"The court is not good, but it's not good to all players," Almagro said. "You have to try to forget about that and play the best you can. But it's clear that for the future this is an aspect that they (organizers) will have to improve."
The tournament was played in the northeast coastal city of Costa do Sauipe from 2001-2011, moving to Sao Paulo for the first time last year.
The Brazil Open is Nadal's second tournament since his seventh-month layoff to treat his knee. He lost the singles and doubles final last week in Chile. Nadal won the tournament in 2005.