The Rio Open presented by Claro has its second commitment for the 2020 edition: Croatian Borna Coric, one of the best names of ATP’s new generation. The biggest tennis tournament in South America takes place at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in February 15-23. Besides Coric, World No.5 Dominic Thiem is set to return to the Rio Open.
World No.25, Coric was recently the 12th best player of the ATP, in August 2019. The Croat has won two ATP titles, in the clay of Marrakech (2017) and in the grass of Halle (2018), where he beat Roger Federer in the finals. He has won a Davis Cup title as well.
In addition to his two wins against Federer, Coric has also beaten Rafael Nadal twice. A great player since juniors, when he led the rankings and won the US Open (2013), Coric faced serious injuries on his knee and back in the moments he was close to breaking the top 10.
“It is going to be really special to play at the Rio Open for the first time. I have played a Davis Cup tie and the Olympics in Brazil and I wanted to return. It’s going to be a good test on the clay for me, against players who are used to the South American swing. I’m looking forward to facing that challenge”, said Coric.
The complete line-up of the Rio Open will be revealed in January, when the entry list is closed. “It’s always really nice to have a new player in the tournament and this year we’ll have Coric, a player who has been earning his space on the tour and who is a warrior on the court. It’s another great opportunity for the fans to be able to see another promising player”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
The seventh edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro, taking place in February 15-23 at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, has its first commitment: Austrian Dominic Thiem. World No.5 and runner-up at the French Open for the last two years, the 26-year-old will play in Rio for the fifth time in a row.
Since the beginning of the event, in 2014, Rio Open has brought players from the top 10 of the ATP rankings to Brazilian courts. In 2019, the champion was Serbian Laslo Djere, in a final against Canadian NextGen Felix Auger-Aliassime. The tournament welcomed 50,000 spectators this year.
Thiem won at the Rio Open in 2017, one of his 10 titles on clay and 14 in total. The Austrian is considered to be the best clay court specialist after Rafael Nadal, also a former champion in Rio, in 2014.
During this season, Thiem has achieved outstanding results, such as the French Open final. In the semifinals, he beat Novak Djokovic in one of the best matches of the year. The Austrian also won his first Masters 1000 title on the hard courts on Indian Wells, with a win against Roger Federer in the final.
Other trophies came this year in Beijing, Barcelona and Kitzbuhel. These results guaranteed his spot for the fourth time in a row in the ATP Finals, the tournament that closes the season with the eight best players of the world.
“I am going through a very important year in my career, but I am already thinking about 2020 and I am glad to confirm my return to the Rio Open. It is a tournament that can help me prepare for my goal, which is to win in Roland Garros, besides being in a place where I feel very comfortable. The energy of the Brazilian audience is always really special”, said Thiem, coached by Chilean Nicolás Massú.
The complete entry list of the Rio Open will be revealed in January. “It is always really nice to be able to guarantee a top 5 player in our tournament, specially someone who is a reference on clay like Thiem. Brazilians have been following closely his evolution and 2020 will surely be a season with even more great wins for him”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
Laslo Djere, the 23-year-old Serbian, surprised the sensation of the tournament, Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, and won the first title of his career at the Rio Open presented by Claro this Sunday at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, 6/3 7/5, in 2 hours. Very emotional, Djere dedicated the title to his parents, who already passed away.
“I lost my mother seven years ago and I want to dedicated this to her, and also to my dad, I lost him two months ago. My parents have been the reason I’m here today and I hope they are watching me now”, said during his speech.
With the campaign in Rio de Janeiro, Djere adds 500 points and US$ 1.402.200 in prize money. He will make a Top 40 on Mondays ranking with the title, his best career position. He arrived in Rio as World No.91. Runner-up Auger-Aliassime is projected to move inside the Top 60 and will be the youngest player in ATP Top 100. He arrived in Rio as World No.104. He received US$ 704.235 in prize money and 300 points.
The new champion Djere started his week in Rio defeating number 1 seed and 2017 champion Dominic Thiem. Then he defeated Taro Daniel and #NextGenATP Casper Ruud and earned a spot at his first ever ATP Tour final after his opponent, Aljaz Bedene, withdrew from the semifinals with an injured right leg. He received the trophy, created by the jewelry designer Antônio Bernardo, from the hands of the 3-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten.
“When I got here, I did not think I would win the tournament, especially after the draw came out and I knew I would face Thiem in the first match, but I did a good training and I thought I could do well. I hope this title is the beginning of a tennis story for me”, said the player, who spoke during the week about compatriot Novak Djokovic, world number 1. “It’s a great inspiration for me. I grew up seeing him play and wondering if he could ever be playing big tournaments either.”
In the final match, Djere breaking Auger-Aliassime service, but lost his serve right after that. But then he broke back again and raised the level of his game to close the first set in 6/3. In the second set, the Canadian tried to fight back , supported by the fans who ‘adopted’ him since the first round, and had a 3-1 lead. But Djere raised his game again, pressed the nervous Felix, and close the second set in 7/5 after five match points, to claim his first title without dropping a set during the whole tournament. “It was a difficult game, emotionally and physically. Felix is talented and I’m sure he will win many trophies in the future.”
Auger-Aliassime was disappointed with the loss and how he played, especially in the serving game, but give all the credits to Djere for the win. “Obviously today was tougher, especially my second serve fell apart for some reason and had been serving well for the whole tournament. It’s a little bit disappointing because obviously I was playing for the title and it was big for me. But at the same time I’m not gonna lose to much sleep for this loss. I done good things this week and I’m gonna stick with the positives.”
The 18-years-old Canadian had the best week of his young career. He received a wild card for the main draw and defeated in the first round the number 2 seed, Italian Fábio Fognini. Then he got past by Christian Garin (7/5 e 6/4), Jaume Munar (6/4 e 6/3) and in the semifinals the experienced Uruguayan and 2016 champion, Pablo Cuevas (6/3, 3/6 e 6/3). “It was one of the most special tournaments that I played. And having Guga in the audience in the final, a great inspiration, it was special. I will continue working and hope to return next year” said Auger-Aliassime.
The final was the first match between the two players. Laslo Djere is now the sixth champion of Rio Open history, joining Diego Schwartzman (2018), Dominic Thiem (2017), Pablo Cuevas (2016), David Ferrer (2015) and Rafael Nadal (2014). The Rio Open is part of the ATP World Tour, which brings together 13 tournaments of this size and only three on clay, alongside Barcelona and Hamburg.
DJERE CAMPAIGN EN ROUTE TO THE TITLE:
1st Round: Fabio Fognini – 6/2, 6/3
2nd Round: Christian Garin – 7/5, 6/4
Quarterfinal: Jaume Munar – 6/4, 6/3
Semifinal: Pablo Cuevas – 6/3, 3/6, 6/3
Final: Felix Auger-Aliassime – 6/3, 7/5
RIO OPEN SINGLE CHAMPIONS:
2019 – Laslo Djere (SRB)
2018 – Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
2017 – Dominic Thiem (AUT)
2016 – Pablo Cuevas (URU)
2015 – David Ferrer (ESP)
2014 – Rafael Nadal (ESP)
It was not this time a Brazilian player was crowned champion of the Rio Open presented by Claro.
Wild cards Thomaz Bellucci and Rogério Dutra Silva were defeated by Chilean Nicolas Jarry and Argentinian Maximo Gonzales by 7/6 (7/3), 3/6 and 10/7 in one hour and 45 minutes at Jockey Club Brasileiro.
Last time a Brazilian had played the decision of the tournament before was in 2014, when Marcelo Melo played alongside Spaniard David Marrero and lost to Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
Playing together on and off for about one year, this was Gonzales and Jarry’s first title together.
But they both were champions in other doubles’ events. Argentinian Gonzalez has now six titles, all on clay: Valencia in 2008, Umag in 2015, Marrakech in 2016, São Paulo in 2018 and Buenos Aires, last week, but playing alongside fellow Argentinian Horacio Zeballos.
As for Jarry, this was his second doubles’ title. The first one was in Quito, last year, playing alongside country mate Hans Podlipnik-Castillo. But he was no stranger to the Rio Open’s late stages. Last year he made it to the semis last year but playing at the singles’ draw.
“It’s been almost one year that we’ve been playing together and we had great results, including in Grand Slams, but we never managed to win a title. Winning here is very special and Nico is a great friend. We are very happy and that’s really important to us. Hopefully we can play more events together. We already won an ATP 500, maybe next is a 1000 and one day a Grand Slam”, said Gonzales.
Even tough they played against a Brazilian duo at Court Guga Kuerten, Jarry said the audience was really respectful.
“It was not easy to play with a full house cheering against us, something that usually happens only at the Davis Cup, but we were getting used to that little by little and we tried to remain focused. It’s good to have a partner next to you so you can share the pressure with. And I want to thank the audience because they were loud but super respectful all the time”, said Jarry.
The Brazilian duo said that even though they did not win, the week was positive.
“It was a good week for us after all. There were lots of positives and the atmosphere was great. It’s a shame that we didn’t win but maybe next time”, said Dutra Silva.
“I think we felt the pressure of playing at home but we can’t and should not erase the great week we had here. Of course we are a bit frustrated we didn’t win, but we were super close”, added Bellucci.
Rio Open Doubles’ Champions
2019 – Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)/Nicolas Jarry (CHI)
2018 – David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco (ESP/ESP)
2017 – Pablo Cuevas and Pablo Carreño Busta (URU/ESP)
2016 – Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (COL/COL)
2015 – Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald (ESV/AUT)
2014 – Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (COL/COL)
Canadian rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime upset 2016 Rio Open champion Pablo Cuevas and paved his way to became, at 18 years 6 months and 16 days, the youngest player to reach an ATP 500 final.
This Sunday in Rio, at 5pm, at Court Guga Kuerten, the Canadian will take on another finalist first-timer: Serbian Laslo Djere, 23.
One of the most celebrated players of the ATP NexGen, Auger-Aliassime needed two hours to score 6/3, 3/6 and 6/3 and defeat the experienced Uruguayan, who saved three match points.
“It feels great, the match was pretty tough, pretty complete today, I felt good from the start and thought I could have a shot to win. I was feeling my shots well and serving well too. But then he came back strong at the second set and I felt a lot of pressure from him. And then in the third set I came back strong again, I was able to break him early and then hold my serve. It was tough to finish when you’re so close to the line but I managed to stay calm and got the job done”, said the Canadian.
This Saturday’s win crowned an excellent week for Auger-Aliassime in Rio. The Canadian started by beating a Top 20 for the second time in his career: Fabio Fognini in the first round (previously he had already defeated Lucas Pouille). Then he took on Chilean Christian Garin and NextGen and Rafael Nadal’s pupil Jaume Munar before stunning Cuevas.
“I felt the effect’s of yesterday’s long match [against Albert Ramos-Vinola], I was a bit slower and with low energy. Felix is an aggressive player who took advantage of that. He served really well, he played well and deserved the win. He is very talented and I’m sure he’s got a bright future ahead”, said Cuevas, 33.
Auger-Aliassime received a wild card to play in Rio this year because of his impressive performance recently. He already has four Challenger tour titles and had a fantastic performance in the Canadian victory against Slovakia at the Davis Cup, guaranteeing the qualification of his country to the finals.
With the win over Cuevas he became the youngest ATP 500 finalist since the level was established, in 2009 _previous record holder was Alexander Zverev, who made it to the final in Halle in 2016 at 19 years and 2 months.
And since the Canadian started playing in Rio he became a crowd favorite.
“It’s been great. Every time you have a breakthrough as a young guy it’s a special moment and all the environment is important and from the first day I felt good in Rio, from the hotel I’m staying at, the places I’ve seen and the energy from the people. That’s really strong and I strongly believe that it has pushed me to where I am today, this week, and maybe I can give one last push with the support of the crowd tomorrow.”
As for the match this Sunday, Auger-Aliassime expects nothing less than a battle.
“Laslo had a great week also. I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy favorite, maybe to the crowd I’ll have their support, but it’s going to be a tough match. I haven’t played him yet, but I’ve seen what he’s doing and it’s going to be a battle. At the end for me, title or no title it’s not the most important thing. At the end I want to have a successful career every year and I don’t want to be remembered for a final or a title that I won when I was 18. I’m on the right track.”
Djere also plays his maiden final this Sunday
Laslo Djere earned a spot at his first ever ATP Tour final earlier this Saturday after his opponent, Aljaz Bedene, withdrew from the semifinals with an injured right leg.
Despite not having to play this Saturday, 23-year old Djere had an impressive week at the Rio Open. The Serbian got his first-ever Top 10 win over number one seed and 2017 champion Dominic Thiem in the first round, his first ever match in Rio.
After that he beat Taro Daniel from Japan and NexGen Casper Ruud in his way to his fourth career ATP Tour semi-final.
“Of course I din’t dream of reaching my first final this way and I feel really sorry for Aljaz and wish him the best”, said Djere. “But I had a great week here in Rio, I’m playing well and I’m looking forward to playing my first final. I feel prepared and look for a huge result tomorrow.”
As for his rival this Sunday, it will be the first time they play each other. “Felix is a young and very talented player. I watched him a few times, he’s been playing really well, has a big serve, big forehead. But I think I’m ready and prepared and I’ll do my best. Hopefully I can win my first final here in Rio”, said the Serbian, who began playing tennis at 5 to follow his now late dad.
“It wasn’t easy getting here. It’s really tough to became a professional tennis player, it doesn’t matter if you’re from Serbia or any other place. Conditions where I practiced were not ideal and I struggled a lot to get where I am today. When I was 15 mom was diagnosed with cancer, which was really tough for me, and she passed away two years later. And I lost my dad last December also to cancer. It’s not easy to be here at 23 not having parents, but I’m thankful for my younger sister and my girlfriend. I just want to make them proud.”
After upsetting Buenos Aires champion Marco Cecchinato at the opening round and making his way to the semifinals of the of this edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro, Slovenian Aljaz Bedene withdrew from the event this Saturday after injuring his right leg during the quarter-final match against Bolivian Hugo Dellien, on Friday.
“I was looking forward to the match today against Laslo [Djere] and after having a few good weeks during this swing and enjoying playing in Rio, I feel sad that I had to withdraw from the semifinal today. I had started feeling a pain in my right leg and during one sprint it got worse yesterday”, said Bedene, who also thanked the fans for the support he had all week in Rio.
“I want to say sorry to all my fans and thank you for supporting me this week. I hope to be back in the future to play again here in Rio”, said Bedene.
With that, Djere is automatically in his first ever ATP Tour final.
The Serbian made a great week at the Rio Open so far, getting his first-ever Top 10 win over number one seed Dominic Thiem in the first round and progressed all the way to his fourth career ATP Tour semi-final.
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019
QUADRA GUGA KUERTEN start 6 pm
P. Cuevas (URU) vs [WC] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
[WC] T. Bellucci (BRA) / R. Dutra Silva (BRA) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / N. Jarry (CHI)
Brazilian fans are not the only ones enjoying great matches and an amazing atmosphere at the sixth edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro.
Tennis fans from all over the world showed up at Jockey Club Brasileiro during the tournament. People from countries as far as Australia enjoyed the matches and the activities at Leblon Boulevard.
One of the biggest groups was a bunch of 32 Colombians that won a corporate competition and as a prize received the tip to watch the Rio Open. They could follow the great performance of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, two time winners of the doubles’ draw, who made it to the semifinals this year.
Also at the complex there were Americans, French, Russians and Australians.
One of the loudest and happiest crowds were the Bolivians. They could witness 25-year old Hugo Dellien make history this year in Rio.
After qualifying to the main draw with two wins during the weekend, the Bolivian player claimed a spot in his first-ever ATP Tour quarter-final to became the first Bolivian to reach this stage of an ATP Tour event since Mario Martinez made the semi-finals at Washington in 1983.
Even the Consul General of Bolivia in Rio, Shirley Orozco Ramirez, attended the matches to support Dellien.
The Consul General of Canada in Rio, Evelyne Coulombe, also made her way to the Jockey Club Brasileiro to support finalist and rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime.
#NextGenATP contender, 18-year old Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the first 500-level semifinal of his career this Friday at Rio Open presented by Claro.
The wild card Canadian will take on Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas this Saturday, at the second match of the session that starts at 5pm at Court Guga Kuerten.
Cuevas, 33, is no stranger to the Rio Open semifinals, having reached this phase in 2016 when he was crowned champion.
To make it to the semis, rising star Auger-Aliassime defeated another promising player this Saturday, Spaniard Jaume Munar in two sets (6/4 and 6/3) in one hour and 38 minutes of match.
Munar, who has made the quarter-finals at each of the three Golden Swing events this year, was a 4th-place finisher at the Next Gen ATP Finals last year and it’s Rafael Nadal’s pupil _he practices at the 11-times Roland Garros champion academy.
“It was a great win for me, beating a better ranked player this week like Fabio [Fognini] is special, but this one today felt even more special because I hadn’t been able yet to win three matches at this level in a row and to do it now, specially against Jaume, who beat me two times last year on clay, I think I wasn’t the favorite, I didn’t feel like the favorite yesterday night when I went to sleep, but when I woke up today I was able to impose myself from the start and I was like: OK, so maybe I’m a different player today. I had a little edge over him and I was able to use that during the whole match”, said Auger-Aliassime, who admitted he never felt like a prodigy.
“From the moment some people put me on the map at a very young age, maybe 14, I never felt like a prodigy I only felt like I’m good at what I’m doing, I was always working hard, believing in myself but obviously when you see yourself at the papers it changes the way you see the sport. I feel good right now, it’s been good but it’s not where I wanna stop. There’s possibly two more matches this week so I want to go as far as I can and play as good as I can. I don’t feel different that I felt last week”, said the Canadian that was “adopted” by the Brazilian fans after all the two players from the country lost at the beginning of the tournament. “I’m happy they were supportive of me and I tried to use this as an advantage tonight.”
Cuevas wins and aims for second title
Cuevas, the other semifinalist, beat Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in 6/3, 3/6 and 6/3 in a little over two hours and 30 minutes of match at Court Guga Kuerten.
In route to the semifinal, Cuevas defeated defending champion Diego Schwartzman, who retired while down 6/1, 4/1 due to a right leg injury in the first round, and then Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round.
“To be honest it was a very tough match tonight. I struggled with consistency throughout the match, made lots of mistakes and had no energy at some moments. But the good thing is that I could manage to win in the end. I can’t say I was surprised with his tennis, the problem is that I was having ups and downs”, said Cuevas.
As for his young rival this Saturday, the Uruguay believes that if he improves his game he can beat the Canadian.
He is a very talented player, I’ve seen him playing a little this week, he’s got a lot of weapons and plays really well on clay. But at the same time he’s still very inconsistent so I have to get better and be as agressive as I can.”
RESULTS – FEBRUARY 22, 2019
Singles – Quarterfinals
L. Djere (SRB) d [Q] C. Ruud (NOR) 64 75
A. Bedene (SLO) d [Q] H. Dellien (BOL) 46 62 63
P. Cuevas (URU) d A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 63 36 63
[WC] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) d J. Munar (ESP) 64 63
Doubles – Semifinals
M. Gonzalez (ARG) / N. Jarry (CHI) d  J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 36 75 10-7
[WC] T. Bellucci (BRA) / R. Dutra Silva (BRA) d R. Jebavy (CZE) / A. Molteni (ARG) 64 76(3)
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019
QUADRA GUGA KUERTEN start 5:00 pm
L. Djere (SRB) vs A. Bedene (SLO)
P. Cuevas (URU) vs [WC] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
[WC] T. Bellucci (BRA) / R. Dutra Silva (BRA) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / N. Jarry (CHI)
Aljaz Bedene came back strong after losing the first set to Bolivian Hugo Dellien to secure the first spot to this year’s semifinals of the Rio Open presented by Claro.
The Slovenian needed two hours and 20 minutes to defeat Dellien, the first Bolivian to reach this stage of an ATP Tour event since Mario Martinez made the semi-finals at Washington in 1983. In the end, Bedene won by 4/6, 6/2 and 6/3 at Jockey Club Brasileiro.
“The conditions were tougher today, the ball was quicker I wasn’t adjusting well. Dellien was playing better at the beginning of the match and was more agressive. Then afterwards I played a little bit better, was more agressive and that’s how the match turned. It was an OK match, conditions were not easy and we were both struggling a little bit. In those conditions all you have to do is fight and that’s what I did today. At the end, a win is a win”, said Bedene, 29.
In the semifinals, this Saturday, starting at 5pm at Court Guga Kuerten he will take on Laslo Djere, from Serbia, who defeated number one seed in Rio, Dominc Thiem, at the first round of the tournament.
This Friday, Djere beat NexGen Casper Ruud, from Norway, at Jockey Club Brasileiro in two sets (6/4 and 7/5), in his first appearance at the Rio Open.
The Serbian had a great week so far in Rio. Not only he got his first win over a Top 10 player but he also had his first ATP 500 win and will reach his best ranking yet.
“I’m very happy with how this week has been. I’ve been playing really well, I feel good and I’m happy with my tennis. Of course that defeating Thiem gave me confidence but I always knew that if I stayed focused and played my best I could beat guys like him. But this is result of hard work and dedication”, said Djere, 23.
“I really hope this tournament can be a breakthrough in my career and from here on I can reach a new level in my career. It’s been a tough road until here but I always believed I could be here”, added the player.
Speaking about Djere, Bedene said he will do his best to beat him this Saturday.
“Semifinal of any tournament is good. I’m playing good tennis so I just wanna play my best tomorrow, it doesn’t matter who I’m playing against. If I put 100% tomorrow and I do my best I’ll be happy. It that turns out to be a win, even better”, said Bedene.
For the first time since the opening edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro Brazil will have at least one representative on court at the doubles’ draw final, this Saturday, on the last match at Court Guga Kuerten.
This time however, the country will have two players. Wild cards Thomaz Bellucci and Rogério Dutra Silva defeated Argentinian Andres Molteni and Czech Roman Jebavy in an emotional match that ended in one hour and 30 minutes in 6/4 and 7/6 (7/3).
This Saturday they will take on Chilean Nicolas Jarry and Argentinian Maximo Gonzales, the first ones to secure a spot at the final.
The duo upset two time champions of the Rio Open (2014 and 2016) and favorites Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in three sets: 3/6, 7/5 and 10/7.
Last time a Brazilian played the decision of the tournament was in 2014, when Marcelo Melo played alongside Spaniard David Marrero _they lost to Cabal and Farah.
Bellucci and Dutra Silva played alongside for the last time in Wimbledon 2017 and lost at the first round.
“It was kind of last minute, we got the invitation and we said: let’s do it. But we’ve been playing well together and it’s great to be on the final, specially because this is an ATP 500 event. It’s also great for the audience here and now we hope to have a full house tomorrow”, said Dutra Silva, who looks for his second trophy playing in the doubles’ draw. In 2017 he won the Brazil Open alongside country mate André Sá.
Bellucci will also try to get his second doubles’ tittle. The only one he won was in Stuttgart, in 2013, playing with Argentinian Facundo Bagnis.
“Of course it is extra special to play a final at home. We feel like we are playing the Davis Cup. As for our rivals tomorrow, they’ve been playing well this week and we know it’s not going to be an easy match. We know them a little bit, so let’s see what we can do”, added Bellucci.
Jarry made it to the Rio Open semis last year but playing at the singles’ draw. He’s got one doubles title in his career, in Quito, last year, playing alongside Chilean Hans Podlipnik-Castillo. His partner, Gonzalez, has five doubles’ titles.