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.