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Fast-rising Alcaraz tops Berrettini and Fognini to reach the final in Rio

Carlos Alcaraz found his way past Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini to reach his first 500 final at Rio.

Carlos Alcaraz Rio Open 2022 RIO DE JANEIRO, RJ – 14.02.2022: RIO OPEN 2022 – Juan Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) em disputa com Jaume Munar (ESP) na quadra Guga Kuerten,pela primeira rodada do Rio Open 2022, realizada no Jockey Club Brasileiro, que acontece de 12 a 20 de fevereiro, nesta segunda-feira (14), no Rio de Janeiro, RJ. || 221840_0009 2022 ATP FOTO open RIO tennis tournoi

Looking rough and ready at the scene of his ATP Tour debut in 2020, Carlos Alcaraz added to his long and growing list of impressive achievements: a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 triumph over top-seeded Matteo Berrettini on Saturday at the Rio Open, followed by, several hours later, a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Fabio Fognini .

In one intense day the 18-year-old Spaniard reached his sixth ATP semi-final, then his second ATP final (and his biggest on clay), but he won’t have long to celebrate. He’ll face Diego Schwartzman for the title on Sunday in Rio.

Finally back on schedule in Rio

The draw had been pushed back by a day due to heavy rains on Thursday and Friday, which meant that all four quarter-finals were played Saturday, before the semi-finals.

Fognini took out Federico Coria earlier on Saturday, 6-4, 6-2, before he took the court for his first meeting against the 18-year-old sensation.

In the lower half of the draw, Diego Schwartzman defeated Pablo Andujar, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, while Francisco Cerundolo defeated Miomir Kecmanovic, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, to set an all-Argentinian semi-final in the lower half.

Schwartzman then defeated Cerundolo, 7-6(4), 6-3.

Alcaraz knocks out the top seed

For the third time in three meetings, Alcaraz and Berrettini went to a deciding set (in the quarter-finals), and for the second time the Spaniard prevailed. He dominated the final set, breaking serve twice and never facing a break point against the world No 6.

Alcaraz has now won four of his last six against top-10 opposition, and he leads the head-to-head with Berrettini, 2-1.

In the semi-final 34-year-old Fognini had a break advantage in the second set, leading 4-1, but Alcaraz stormed back to take six of the final seven games to book his first ATP-500 final.

Alcaraz will face fourteenth-ranked Schwartzman for the first time in Sunday’s final, as he bids for his second ATP title. Schwartzman, the 2018 Rio champion, owns a 4-9 lifetime record in ATP finals.

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