Fabio Fognini/Simone Bolelli (Rio Open/Fotojump) Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli pulled double duty this Sunday to win the title of the Rio Open presented by Claro. To win the their fourth title the Italian duo took out crowd favorites Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray at the final by 7/5, 6/7 (2) and 10/6 in two hours, six minutes. It was the third encounter the duos had and the Italians, 8th in the doubles team ranking, won them all: third round of the Australian Open, second round in Sydney and the final at Jockey Club Brasileiro. “It was a very difficult week for everybody and the crowd was super supportive until the end. It was a beautiful tournament as always and every year I’m happy to come here. I love Brazil and I want to thank the organization and the fans. And also Simone, my partner, who’s like an older bother to me. It’s always great to share the court with you”, said Fognini, who reached the semifinals os the singles draw _lost to Carlos Alcaraz, the champion in Rio. “It was my first time in Rio and we had a great week here. It’s awesome to play alongside Fabio”, said Bolelli. Earlier this Sunday the Italian duo defeated Santiago Gonzales and Andres Molteni at the semifinals in a match that was postponed from Saturday due to the rain. Fognini and Bolelli now have four titles together. The most important was the Australian Open in 2015. They also won in Umag, in 2011, and Buenos Aires, in 2013. At the Rio Open they had only one previous appearance: in 2017, when they lost at the opening round. Soares and Murray, who
Carlos Alcaraz (Rio Open/Fotojump) In the same clay court where two years ago he won his first ATP Tour match, Carlos Alcaraz once again made history in Rio de Janeiro. The rising Spanish star stunned 2018 champion Diego Schwartzman by 6/4 and 6/2, won the eighth edition of the Rio Open and at, 18 years old, became the youngest ATP 500 champion since the category was created in 2009 _before him Italian Jannik Sinner was the youngest after winning the Washington D.C. title last year, at 19. With the victory Alcaraz is projected to reach number 20 in the world ranking _he is currently ranked 29. “I'm super happy and it means a lot that I won my first ATP 500 title here in Rio. My goal now is not to leave the Top 20 and keep improving. I’m playing some tournaments that I didn’t last year so that’s a great opportunity to do that. Winning here gives me motivation and confidence. I always arrive at the tournaments thinking that I can win, even if the best are playing. I dream big. I wanna be world’s number one, I want to win Grand Slams and Olympic medals”, said the Spaniard right after winning his second ATP level title _the first was in Umag, in 2021 Playing his first-ever ATP 500 final, he was down 2-0 ate the first set but had no problem to score 6/4 in 44 minutes. Second set was even easier for the teenager and in 42 minutes he scored 6/2. “I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the match and I knew Diego was going to be a tough opponent. He knows how to
Fognini/Bolelli (Rio Open/Fotojump) In a match that was postponed from Saturday, Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli defeated Santiago Gonzales (MEX) and Andres Molteni (ARG) to secure a spot at the doubles’ final of the Rio Open presented by Claro. They will now face Brazilian Bruno Soares and Briton Jamie Murray at the final, match that will take place at Quadra Guga Kuerten, following the singles’ draw decision, starting at 5:30pm (local time). Fognini/Bolelli scored 7/6 (4) and 6/2 in one hour, 33 minutes. Playing together the Italian duo won three titles, including the Australian Open in 2015. The latest was this year, in Sydney. In 2017 they partnered at the Rio Open but lost at the first round. It will be the third time that the duos face each other, all of them in 2022. Ranked 8th in the doubles team ranking, Fognini/Bolelli lead 2-0, wining at the third round of the Australian Open and the second round in Sydney. To win the tittle this Sunday they will have to “face" the crowd as well. Brazilian fans never saw one of their representatives win the trophy in Rio. This is only the third time Brazil will have a representative at the final of the doubles’ draw at the Rio Open. In 2014 Marcelo Melo and Spaniard David Marrero were runner-ups. In 2019 Brazilian duo Rogério Dutra Silva and Thomaz Bellucci also lost the final match. Soares, a three-time Grand Slam winner, never played a final in from of his home crowd. Playing alongside Murray he has reached 23 finals and won 12 titles, two of them last year: St. Petersburg and Melbourne. They were also runner-ups at the US
Carlos Alcaraz (Rio Open/Fotojump) After playing twice this Saturday, Diego Schwartzman and Carlos Alcaraz powered into the final of the Rio Open presented by Claro, this Sunday, at 5:30pm (local time), at Quadra Guga Kuerten. This is the first time the 2018 Rio Open champion and the rising Spanish star will face each other. Schwartzman, 29, currently ranked 14 in the world, has four titles under his belt. Alcaraz, 18, won his first title last year and enjoyed a standout 2021 season, soaring from outside the Top 100 to number 32. He is currently world’s number 29 and will play his first ATP 500 final. Schwartzman was the first one to qualify for the final. After a three-hour-and-a-half quarterfinal match earlier this Saturday, he was back on Quadra Guga Kuerten for his semifinal match against fellow Argentine Francisco Cerundolo about four hours later. Tired from the intense past two weeks, when he reached the semifinals in Cordoba and then the final in Buenos Aires, Schwartzman used his experience to take out Cerundolo by 7/6 (4) and 6/3. “The crowd today was amazing, I got all my energy from them and for an Argentine to play in Brazil to feel something like that is something that I really don’t understand”, said the third seed about the famous sports rivalry between the countries. “We both made an extra effort to play this semifinal and I think that under the conditions it was a great match. He started really strong but I think I was mentally stronger and took advantage of that. In the second set he was not the same and I managed to win. I’m really happy but worn-out right now.
People that went to the Jockey Club Brasileiro this Saturday to attend the Rio Open presented by Claro also had the opportunity to see an exhibition of wheelchair tennis. Paralympic athletes Daniel Rodrigues, Ymanitu Silva and Meyricoll Duval, and coach Léo Butija showed a little bit of the sport. "This Rio Open initiative to promote wheelchair tennis is very important, for us to be in a tournament like this, showing our sport is fantastic", said Rodrigues, who's already competed in three Paralympics, and whose best result is the semifinal of the open category in London-2012. Silva is in the quad category and his best result is the fifth place at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Duval went to the second round at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, held last year due to the pandemic.
Flavio Saretta (Rio Open/Fotojump) The Rio Open organizers payed tribute to former player Flávio Saretta this Saturday night at Jockey Club Brasileiro. As they have been doing since the first edition, recognizing the achievements of great Brazilian players, the Rio Open organizers produced a video remembering moments of the former world’s number 44 in the world's career with testimonials from former players such as Gustavo Kuerten and Fernando Meligeni. His former coach João Soares and Ricardo Acioly, Rio Open's director of relations, gifted him with a commemorative plaque. His wife Suzana Alves and their children Felipe and Benjamim also attended the ceremony. "It's been a long time since I've been on a tennis court with so many people. This even made me miss playing. It's the first tribute I receive, so I’m very emotional. I thank the organizers for recognizing former athletes in a country that usually doesn’t do that”, said Saretta, 41. Born in Americana, in the State of São Paulo, he was a contemporary of Guga and is considered one of the best tennis players in Brazil. He was number 12 in the youth ranking, and in 2003 he had the best season of his career. In Roland Garros he defeated Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov, former number 1 in the world, and reached the round of 16, being defeated by American Andre Agassi. In Wimbledon he stunned Swede Thomas Johansson, winner of the previous Australian Open and 11th in the world at that time. In 2004, he won the title in Umag. In 2007, Saretta won the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Games, his last career title. He retired at 28.
Matteo Berrettini (Rio Open/Fotojump) The anticipated appearance of Matteo Berrettini at the Rio Open presented by Claro ended up earlier than the Brazilian crowd expected. The “half Brazilian’, as he called himself because of his carioca grandmother, said goodbye to the tournament after two matches: he received a bye at the first round, defeated Thiago Monteiro on the second and was stunned by rising star Carlos Alcaraz at the quarterfinals this Saturday. But even though his time on court was brief, Berrettini said that he really felt supported in Rio. "I really wanted to play here in Rio. The atmosphere was great, the crowd was really nice. I had two different experiences, with Thiago and Carlos, playing against someone from Brazil and then against Carlos, that is loved by the crowd but not like that. I felt a lot of support, I saw people cheering for me and I think they are really passionate about tennis because they had to wait a lot. This is a great place to play tennis”, said the Italian, who made his first appearance in a South American tournament. Ranked sixth in the world, Berrettini was playing for the first time since reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open. “It was a nice week in a way because I really wanted to play here, but unluckily the weather was not the best. It was really hard to adjust to the conditions, it stoped my matches so many times, so that’s not ideal.” On Friday, his match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro was interrupted for six hours due to the rain. On Saturday, once again the rain disrupted his match against Alcaraz, this time for about two
Carlos Alcaraz (Rio Open/Fotojump) Rio definitely holds a special place in Next Gen’s star Carlos Alcaraz heart. After earning his maiden tour-level win, two years ago, this Saturday he fired past top seed Matteo Berrettini to reach the semifinal of this year’s edition of the Rio Open. The 18 year-old Spaniard won by 6/2, 2/6 and 6/2 in a rematch of this year’s Australian Open’s third round, but with a different result this time. The two-hour quarterfinal match at Jockey Club, that was postponed from yesterday, was interrupted by the rain in the beginning of the third set. “I knew it was not going to be easy, we all know how good Matteo is but I think I played really well today. I lost the second set and it’s never easy to come back. And after that there was the rain disruption again. But I’m really glad I made it to the semis”, said Alcaraz, who equals his best ATP 500 result _he also reached the semifinals in Vienna, last year, but went on to lose the match to Alexander Zverev. Alcaraz now faces Fabio Fognini later this Saturday hoping to get a spot at Sunday’s final. “Fabio is playing really well this week and it’s not going to be easy. Now I’ll try to rest a little bit and I hope the crowd is on my side for this match.” The Spaniard, youngest member of the Top 200 of the ATP Rankings (currently number 19), enjoyed a standout 2021 season, soaring from outside the Top 100 to number 32 as he captured his maiden tour-level title in Umag.
Bruno Soares (Rio Open/Fotojump) Crowd favorites Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray took off reigning Rio Open champions, Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers by 6/3 and 6/2 to secure the first spot at the final of this year’s edition, to be played on Sunday. Third seed at the doubles’ draw, the two-time Grand Slam winner duo now waits on the winner of the other semifinal between Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini and Santiago Gonzales/Andres Molteni. “Whoever makes it to the final means they are having a great week, so it really makes no difference. Bolekki/Fognini defeated us two times in the past and Gonzales/Molteni come from two titles in the past two weeks”, said Soares. A three-time Grand Slam winner, he had never reached the finals in Rio before _he made it to the semis in five opportunities, two of them alongside Murray (2017 and 2018). “To be honest I never played well here in Rio, it was all based on my emotions and the energy, but I never felt that I was playing my best. This time I’ve been feeling good since the first day and it would mean the world to me to win here in front of this crowd, my family and friends. Unfortunately this is something I can do only once a year, so I’m really excited to have reached the final." This is only the third time Brazil will have a representative at the final of the doubles’ draw at the Rio Open. In 2014 Marcelo Melo and Spaniard David Marrero were runner-ups. In 2019 Brazilian duo Rogério Dutra Silva and Thomaz Bellucci also lost the final match. "We had great support all week, Bruno had a lot
Fabio Fognini (Rio Open/Fotojump) For the first time since 2019 Italian Fabio Fognini reached a semifinal of an ATP Tour event. In a match that was postoned from Friday due to the rain, Fognini powered past Federico Coria by 6/4 and 6/2 and now awaits the winner of Matteo Berrettini x Calos Alcaraz to find out his opponent later this Saturday. "I’m really happy with this win because it’s been a while since I got a good result like this. I always feel good playing the South American swing”, said Fognini, whose last semifinal was at the ATP 1000 in Montecarlo, in 2019 _he went on to win the title. “Everybody knows that 2020 was a bad year in general and then in 2021 I had a surgery, so the past few years I kept fighting against my biggest opponent, which is my body”, added the Italian, quarterfinalist last week in Buenos Aires. In his seventh appearence at the Rio Open, had his better result in 2015 when he was a runner-up to David Ferrer. “For sure the semifinal will be a tough match, no matter who I face. Both are great players. Berrettini is already in the Top 10 and Alcaraz is really young but will be a Top 10 soon."