TENNIS: The Ambato Challenger quarter-finals include two mouth-watering fixtures and we preview them both below.

Facundo Bagnis v Santiago Rodriguez Taverna

Facundo Bagnis and Santiago Rodriguez Taverna face off in Ecuador for a chance to make the semi-final of the Ambato Challenger.

Both players have looked impressive so far in the tournament and will fancy their chances of progressing after their convincing round-of-16 performances. Both played flawlessly in the previous two rounds of the tournament, taking two-nil wins against both opponents, making it hard to split the two, and based on their ATP rankings, there seems to be only a slight favourite.

Facundo Bagnis has a higher ranking of 114 and, combined with his long career in professional tennis, looks to be one of the most dangerous competitors left. Turning pro in 2008, Bagnis has achieved a career-high ranking of 55 though he has never won an ATP singles title, only reaching one final last year at the Santiago Open. However, looking at his form, it is easy to see why he is the favourite with BETDAQ punters at 1.47. Bagnis qualified for the US Open earlier this year and, in 2022, has beaten some formidable opponents in Dominic Thiem and Mitchell Krueger.

Santiago Taverna has not had the same success in recent weeks and months and, and despite holding the advantage of a younger age, sits lower in the rankings at 164. While ATP rankings don’t account for all aspects of the game and shouldn’t be used as a clear indicator of how a player will fare, they do highlight form and the level of opponent the player has come up against in recent matches.

Losing his first qualifier in the US Open and only winning three matches since it seems at 2.74, there isn’t a great amount of confidence that he can defeat his Argentine countryman.

Juan Pablo Varillas v Nicolas Mejia

This one could be set in stone from the beginning though the upcoming Nicolas Mejia will undoubtedly have something to say about the current predictions. The young Colombian is being written off by many fans in this fixture already due to his lower ranking and relative inexperience in professional tennis. He sits at rank 293, but despite not making any major finals in his career, he has shown a great aptitude for the highest level. BETDAQ analysis sees Mejia at 5.2 as the overwhelming underdog with a win probability of only 20%.

However, he has made the quarter-finals of this tournament and triumphed against Gerald Melzer on his journey, a player significantly higher than him in the ATP rankings.

Looking at his adversary, Juan Pablo Varillas’ recent form, who by most accounts is set to breeze this fixture, it seems fair to state that there could be some gaps in his game.

After making it to the Campinas Challenger’s Final earlier this month, Varillas looked almost guaranteed to defeat Jan Choinski, the massive underdog. Leaving the blocks very sluggishly, he never managed to get into the match and was brushed aside, succumbing to a two-nil loss.

Though he has looked in good form again, his 80% win percentage doesn’t mean everything and even as the firm favourite at 1.17, don’t assume this will be as clear cut as expected.

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