Fixture: (1) Diego Schwartzman vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Date: 26 February 2021
Tournament: Cordoba Open 2021
Venue: Cordoba, Argentina
Category: ATP 250
Prize money: $325,270
Match timing: Approx. 8.30 pm local time, 5 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Diego Schwartzman vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas preview
Two of the most experienced clay-courters on the tour, Diego Schwartzman and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, will take on each other in the last eight at Cordoba on Friday.
2020 finalist Schwartzman got off to a flying start at the ATP 250 event this year, with a straight-sets win over Marco Cecchinato. With that result, the Argentine has now reached quarterfinals or higher in all claycourt tournaments he has played the last two years.
The World No. 9 reached the Roland Garros semifinal and the Rome Masters final last year, and will now be looking to reach the Cordoba semis for the second consecutive season.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas, meanwhile, has had a tough week in Cordoba so far. The former World No. 17 was down 2-6, 1-5 to Tomas Etcheverry in his opener, but he launched an epic comeback to eventually prevail 2-6, 7-6, 7-5.
Ramos-Vinolas' second-round match, against 2019 Cordoba Open champion Juan Ignacio Londero, followed a similar pattern to his first. The Spaniard was again forced to come from a set down to beat his opponent.
Diego Schwartzman vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas head-to-head
The last-eight meeting in Cordoba is the sixth face-off between the two players on tour. Diego Schwartzman has dominated the head-to-head so far, and leads Albert Ramos-Vinolas 5-0 in their career meetings.
Incidentally, Scwhartzman had defeated the Spaniard in the Cordoba quarterfinals last year too. The Argentine hasn't even lost a set to Ramos-Vinolas in any of their tour matches.
Diego Schwartzman vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas prediction
Diego Schwartzman returned to his home country in search of some much-needed confidence; the World No. 9 had a disappointing Australian Open campaign, as he was bundled out by the unseeded Aslan Karatsev. Schwartzman has always done well in the South American claycourt swing though, and he won the Rio Open in 2018.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas is also a claycourt veteran, and he even reached the final of the 2017 Monte Carlo Masters where he lost to 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal. That said, the 33-year-old has not been able to record many wins on the surface lately.
Schwartzman has a distinct edge in this match-up when it comes to the two players' games. The Argentine likes to take high-bouncing shots on the rise and return them with interest, which is the best way to counteract Ramos-Vinolas' heavy topspin game.
Schwartzman is the clear favorite to reach the semifinals in Cordoba, and it would take something special from Ramos-Vinolas on Friday to stop the 28-year-old's march.
Prediction: Diego Schwartzman to win in straight sets.