Aljaz Bedene/Fotojump

Aljaz Bedene came back strong after losing the first set to Bolivian Hugo Dellien to secure the first spot to this year’s semifinals of the Rio Open presented by Claro.

The Slovenian needed two hours and 20 minutes to defeat Dellien, the first Bolivian to reach this stage of an ATP Tour event since Mario Martinez made the semi-finals at Washington in 1983. In the end, Bedene won by 4/6, 6/2 and 6/3 at Jockey Club Brasileiro.

“The conditions were tougher today, the ball was quicker I wasn’t adjusting well. Dellien was playing better at the beginning of the match and was more agressive. Then afterwards I played a little bit better, was more agressive and that’s how the match turned. It was an OK match, conditions were not easy and we were both struggling a little bit. In those conditions all you have to do is fight and that’s what I did today. At the end, a win is a win”, said Bedene, 29.

In the semifinals, this Saturday, starting at 5pm at Court Guga Kuerten he will take on Laslo Djere, from Serbia, who defeated number one seed in Rio, Dominc Thiem, at the first round of the tournament.

This Friday, Djere beat NexGen Casper Ruud, from Norway, at Jockey Club Brasileiro in two sets (6/4 and 7/5), in his first appearance at the Rio Open.

The Serbian had a great week so far in Rio. Not only he got his first win over a Top 10 player but he also had his first ATP 500 win and will reach his best ranking yet.

“I’m very happy with how this week has been. I’ve been playing really well, I feel good and I’m happy with my tennis. Of course that defeating Thiem gave me confidence but I always knew that if I stayed focused and played my best I could beat guys like him. But this is result of hard work and dedication”, said Djere, 23.

“I really hope this tournament can be a breakthrough in my career and from here on I can reach a new level in my career. It’s been a tough road until here but I always believed I could be here”, added the player.

Speaking about Djere, Bedene said he will do his best to beat him this Saturday.

“Semifinal of any tournament is good. I’m playing good tennis so I just wanna play my best tomorrow, it doesn’t matter who I’m playing against. If I put 100% tomorrow and I do my best I’ll be happy. It that turns out to be a win, even better”, said Bedene.

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