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. 

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