Defending champ David Ferrer advances

ACAPULCO, Mexico -- David Ferrer took a large stride toward
back-to-back Mexican Open titles by winning his quarterfinal
Thursday, while his main rival and Spanish compatriot Nicolas
Almagro lost.

Top-seeded Ferrer cruised past another Spaniard, Pablo Andujar,
6-2, 6-4, while the other all-Spanish quarterfinal saw Almagro
beaten 6-4, 7-6 (5) by No. 8 Fernando Verdasco.

Verdasco trailed 4-1 in the second-set tiebreaker but won six
of the last seven points to close out the match against the
second-seeded Almagro.

Almagro broke Verdasco when he was serving for the match at 5-4,
but the tiebreaker collapse kept him from reaching his second
consecutive final at the Mexican Open and fourth in the past five

He was runner-up to Ferrer last year and won the competition in
2008 and 2009. Ranked 12th in the world, Almagro also won the
Brazil Open two weeks ago.

Ferrer's semifinal opponent will be Colombia's Santiago Giraldo,
who was a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 winner of Argentina's Carlos Berlocq.

Verdasco will next play Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who
advanced by beating Jeremy Chardy of France 7-5, 6-1.

In the women's quarterfinals, the three top-ranked Italians all
comfortably progressed to the final four.

Top seed Roberta Vinci of Italy routed Michaella Krajicek of the
Netherlands 6-2, 6-0 and will play her semifinal against fellow
Italian Sara Errani, the No. 3 seed, who ousted seventh-seeded
Estrella Cabeza Candela of Spain 6-4, 6-3.

Second-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy beat Colombia's Mariana
Duque-Marino 6-0, 6-4 and will next face Romania's Irina-Camelia
Begu, who won 6-2, 6-2 over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.