Argentinian Schwartzman and Spaniard Alcaraz in the final of the Rio Open | national news

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Argentine Diego Schwartzman and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz will meet in the final of the Rio Open clay-court tournament on Sunday.

Third-seeded Schwartzman beat compatriot Francisco Cerundolo late Saturday. Alcaraz, 18th and seventh seeded, knocked out Italian Fabio Fognini in the first hour on Sunday.

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 of his professional career, beat Fognini 6-2, 7-5.

Physical fitness will certainly be an element of Sunday’s final. Both players played their quarter-finals and semi-finals on Saturday due to heavy rain in Rio during the week.

Schwartzman initially questioned his semi-final appearance after playing for more than 3 hours and 30 minutes to defeat Spaniard Pablo Andujar in the quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon.

“Playing in Brazil and feeling that support, it’s spectacular for an Argentinian,” Schwartzman said after reaching the final. “We made a huge effort to play this match.”

But fans seemed more enthusiastic about Alcaraz, who won their first professional title last year at Umag, also on clay. Earlier, the Spaniard shocked No. 6 Italian Matteo Berrettini who gave him more support among the Brazilian fans.

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

“He’s a fighter, it’s going to be a tough final,” Alcaraz said.

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