The final for ATP Rio 2015 (Rio Open) is set following semifinal results on Saturday. Rafael Nadal, Fabio Fognini, and David Ferrer were all in action earlier with two of those players advancing to Sunday’s final.
The results from Saturday are below:
David Ferrer d. Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5, 6-1.
Fabio Fognini d. Rafael Nadal 1-6, 6-2, 7-5
David Ferrer, following what was his third victory over Haider-Maurer, attributed his success in Rio to both his forehand and aggression.
“It is my first final here in Rio and tomorrow I hope to win the title,” said the World No. 9. “The first set was very close and we didn’t serve very well. In the second set I played better with my forehand and the key was I played more aggressive.”
While Ferrer’s victory was not surprising, most would not have picked the Spaniard to win the title – not as long as Nadal remained in the draw. However Italy’s Fognini had other plans as he extended Nadal to a close third set before claiming the upset win in the clay court event.
“I’m really happy about (the match against Nadal),” said Fognini. “I beat the best player on this surface.”
Fognini, implying that he did not like his play in the first set, further commented: “Rafa is always difficult. From the second set I played really well, and I tried to change a little bit to be more positive on court.”
Fognini had entered the Rio semifinal 0-4 against Nadal and his delight at unexpectingly making the championship match is understandable. He refered to himself as “super happy” with the victory but acknowledged that the tournament is not over: “tomorrow,” Fognini claimed, “I will have to battle David, who has always beaten me.”
While Nadal entered the semifinal with an impressive 4-0 record against Fognini, Ferrer enters the final with an even more impressive tally against the Italian. Ferrer, in seven matches, has not known defeat when matched up against Fognini. That winning streak includes clay court victories at Buenos Aires 2014, Acapulco 2013, Buenoes Aires 2013, and Bastad 2010.
Ferrer, having been ranked as such a high player for so long, has more than just a handful of titles. In fact the Spaniard will be looking for his twenty-third career title on Sunday and his second already in 2015. Fognini, in contrast, has just three titles to his credit so far in his career. While all of his titles came on the clay court surface, he has also lost four finals on that surface.
“I will obviously be happy if I win,” Fognini stated, commenting on the final against Ferrer. “If I lose, I will also leave with the good memories from this week in Rio.”
Fognini has not made the Top Ten to date. In making the Rio final, the current World No. 28 has already taken a small step toward reaching that height: even if he loses on Sunday he will crack the Top 25 once again. However if Fognini can find a way to get through Ferrer then he might end up in the Top 20 on Monday with plenty of room for growth in the clay court events to be played later this season.
The championship match from Rio, a 500-series event, is to be played not before 6pm on Sunday, following the women’s final between Sara Errani and Anna Schmiedlova. Below is a little blast from the past where Rafael Nadal accidentally knocked Fabio Fognini’s towel off him in the locker room so there was a little belated revenge in today’s match.