By: Christopher Menendez

Miami- Friday, an unexpected withdrawal from Roger Federer put “lucky loser” Horacio Zeballos up against former World no. 4 del Potro. Zeballos advanced past del Potro (6-4, 6-4) into the third round against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Today, Zeballos led a tight head to head match against Verdasco and beat him in a tie-breaker 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(4).

What is a Lucky Loser?

In Tennis, a “lucky loser” is the highest-ranked player that lost in the qualifying rounds that replaces another play that has withdrawn from the tournament due to illness, injury, or any other reason. Federer, 34, withdrew due to a stomach virus.

“I feel bad for the tournament and the fans as I have rarely ever had to withdraw at such short notice. I have not felt great for a few days and unfortunately it got worse in the last 24 hours. I was really excited to have a comeback in Miami but I am in no condition to play”, said Federer.

Mind vs. Power

In the start of the third set, Zeballos started showing signs of leg pains. After the match, he stated that he was on the brink of having an intense leg cramp and had consulted a medic during a break.

“I think my mental state is what was more important in today’s game.”

Zeballos’ wife is expecting a baby girl next month and shared that he thought of his family during the match to help him play better. “I tell my wife not to worry since she is pregnant. I imagined that being impossible during the third set.”

How Lucky Can a Lucky Loser be?

Only seven men have won an ATP tournament as lucky losers from 1978 to 2015. Zeballos advances to the fourth round and will compete against Goffin, who is all too familiar with the lucky loser status. In 2012, Goffin reached the fourth round of the French Open where he eventually lost to Roger Federer in the fourth round. Ironically, it seems like Federer, Zeballos, and Goffin are interconnected through the lucky loser elections.

About the Miami Open presented by Itaú

The 2016 Miami Open will be played March 21-April 3 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. The tournament is widely regarded as the most glamorous on the ATP and WTA calendars because of its exotic Miami location, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and restaurants, beautiful weather and beaches, and its celebrity appeal. For ticket information, call +1.305.442.3367 or visit

About Itaú

Itau is the largest Latin America privately owned bank, with approximately 95,000 employees and operations in 20 countries throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Itaú’s relationship with sport goes back to the 1970s, when Itaú first sponsored the Itaú Tennis Cup in Brazil in 1970. Itaú has been a sponsor of the Miami Open for the last six years, and also sponsors the Rio Open, the only combined ATP/WTA event in South America. Itaú also supports the Brazilian Women’s Tennis Circuit, only female professional tournament in South America, certified by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the Tennis Institute Training Center, responsible for the development of young, new talent.

About IMG

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 25 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; strategic partnerships with sponsors and brands; and marquee assets across sports, entertainment, events, music and fashion.