Argentina's Horacio Zeballos hits a forehand during his second-round match this week at the Mexican Open against Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, who stunned Rafael Nadal early this month in the final of a clay-court event in Viña del Mar, Chile, said prior to his quarterfinal contest at the Mexican Open in this Pacific resort city that he will do his utmost to avoid being a "one-hit wonder." EFE
Acapulco, Mexico, Feb 28 (EFE).- Argentina's Horacio Zeballos, who stunned Rafael Nadal early this month in the final of a clay-court event in Viña del Mar, Chile, said prior to his quarterfinal match at the Mexican Open in this Pacific resort city that he will do his utmost to avoid being a "one-hit wonder."
Defeating the Spanish great "was my happiest moment in tennis so far. Having that chance to play him and on top of that to beat him was a dream come true," Zeballos told Efe.
The Argentine will square off Thursday evening against another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, for a semifinal berth at the Acapulco tournament, which is also being played on clay.
A win for Zeballos would likely set up a rematch with Nadal, who will take on Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in the day's final match.
The 27-year-old from Mar del Plata said his victory in Viña del Mar gave him "extra motivation to have the chance to reach other finals and play again against players of (Nadal's) caliber."
Prior to winning his first title at the ATP World Tour level, Zeballos had seen several of his Argentine contemporaries achieve success, including 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian, 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.
"All great players whom you try to imitate," Zeballos said.
Weeks after his 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 victory over Nadal, who was playing his first tournament after a seven-month hiatus due to a knee injury and illness, Zeballos said moments from that match remain fresh in his mind.
But he said he is not satisfied with scoring a victory over arguably the greatest clay-court player in tennis history, and wants to re-experience the adrenaline rush that comes with winning.
"The match against Nadal in Chile was the best of my career. I showed I could play at that level and maintain it. For me, it was very important. Nadal is a great player and to push him was enough for me. Now imagine beating him. It was the happiest moment of my life."
The 41st-ranked player said the key to not resting on his laurels is to think that every day brings a new opportunity to win.