Kuala Lumpur – Argentine Juan Monaco reached the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open after defeating Taiwanese Jimmy Wang 6-4, 7-5 on Thursday.
The second seed was surprised he was given such a hard time by the wildcard but said he was happy with the way he played at the indoor Putra Stadium on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
“I hope I can continue to pick up my game and reach the final,” said the world No 11, who faces Canadian Vasek Pospisil in Friday's quarter-finals.
On Thursday, Monaco raced to a 2-0 lead in the first set but Wang, who ranks 151 in the world, fought back before losing 6-4.
Wang then threatened to stretch the match to three sets but Monaco refused to let the second set slip as he wrapped up the match after being tied 5-5.
The 28-year-old said he expected a “difficult” match against Pospisil, who ranks 122 in the world and defeated Michael Yani Wednesday.
Monaco won straight sets against Pospisil when the two men met in Toronto earlier this year, but Monaco called it a “tough match”.
“He's a younger player with nothing to lose,” he said about the 22-year-old.
Monaco added his target for the year was “working hard and playing my best tennis”.
“I have few tournaments ahead, and we'll see if I qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London,” he added.
Only the world's top eight players get to qualify for London.
Meanwhile, Russia's Nikolay Davydenko also progressed to the quarter-finals after defeating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-5, 6-4.
The 31-year-old, who won the inaugural Malaysian Open in 2009, will play the winner of the Albert Ramos versus Kei Nishikori match in the semi-finals.
“I am getting used to the courts. I saw improvements in the game... I was more aggressive instead of the hesitant game I played yesterday,” he said.
Fifth seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who ranks number 32 in the world, fought hard but in the end lost to Igor Sijsling 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (7-2).
Dutchman Sijsling, who ranks 97, will go on to the quarter-finals of the $947,750 tournament, which ends Sunday.