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.
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."
Gonzales/Molteni (Rio Open/Fotojump) Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and Argentinian Andres Molteni cruised past Italians Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori by 2 sets to 0 (7/5 and 6/4), this Saturday, and secured the last remaining spot at this year's Rio Open semifinal. They will now face the Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli this Saturday, not before 5 pm. They will have to play twice today because of the rain that disrupted Friday's matches and postponed the to Saturday at Jockey Club Brasileiro. Gonzalez and Molteni come from two titles in a row, at the ATP in Buenos Aires and in Córdoba. Playing together they have four titles, and this is their first appearance at the Rio Open as partners. Fognini and Bolelli won three titles together, the most important being the 2015 Australian Open. In 2017, they partnered at the Rio Open and lost in the first round. In the other semifinal, this Saturday, Brazilian Bruno Soares and Briton Jamie Murray will face the 2020 champions, Argentine Horacio Zeballos and Spaniard Marcel Granollers.