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Teenager Alcaraz, 2018 winner Schwartzman make Rio Open final

Diego Schwartzman of Argentina and Carlos Alcaraz of Spain will play in the final of the Rio Open clay-court tournament on Sunday.

 

Schwartzman, the third seed, defeated countryman Francisco Cerundolo late Saturday. In the first hour of Sunday, 18-year-old and seventh-seeded Alcaraz defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

 

No. 14 Schwartzman defeated Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 6-3. In 2018, he won the title in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Alcaraz, ranked No. 29, defeated Fognini 6-2, 7-5 to win his second professional title.

 

The final on Sunday will undoubtedly include a fitness component. Due to significant rain in Rio during the week, both players’ quarterfinals and semifinals were played on Saturday.

 

After playing for more than 3 hours and 30 minutes to defeat Spain’s Pablo Andujar in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon, Schwartzman’s place in the semifinals was initially in doubt.

 

“For an Argentinian to play in Brazil and feel this support is fantastic,” Schwartzman remarked after reaching the final. “We put forth a lot of work to play this game.”

 

Fans, on the other hand, were more enthusiastic about Alcaraz, who won his first professional title in Umag, also on clay, last year. Earlier in the tournament, the Spaniard stunned top-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy, who was ranked No. 6 in the world, gaining him additional support from Brazilian fans.

 

“I shocked myself by playing two rounds on the same day, and two tough battles,” Alcaraz said after the match, adding that he expects a hard-fought final against Schwartzman.

 

“He’s a fighter,” Alcaraz remarked, “and this will be a tough final.”

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