Alcaraz and Schwartzman to play Rio Open final

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz will meet in the final of the Rio Open clay-court tournament.

The third-seeded Schwartzman beat countryman Francisco Cerundolo. Eighteen-year-old and seventh-seeded Alcaraz eliminated Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

Schwartzman, ranked No. 14, beat Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 6-3. He lifted the title in Rio de Janeiro in 2018.

Alcaraz, No. 29 and playing for the second title in his professional career, beat Fognini 6-2, 7-5.

Fitness will definitely be an element of the final. Both players played their quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday due to heavy rain falling in Rio during the week.

Schwartzman initially put his presence in the semifinal in doubt after playing for more than 3 hours and 30 minutes to overcome Spain’s Pablo Andujar in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.

“To play in Brazil and feel this support, it is spectacular for an Argentinian,” Schwartzman said after reaching the final. “We made a huge effort to play this match.”

But fans sounded more excited about Alcaraz, who won his first professional title last year in Umag, also on clay. Earlier, the Spaniard shocked top-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy, No. 6 in the rankings, which gave him more support among Brazilian fans.

“To play two matches on the same day, and two tough matches…. I have surprised myself,” Alcaraz said after the encounter, adding he expects a hard-fought final against Schwartzman.

“He is a fighter, this will be a tough final,” Alcaraz said.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.