Thiem cruises into semis of Rio Open

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 25 (IANS) Second-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem cruised into the semi-finals of the Rio Open tennis championships with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

The 5-foot-7 Schwartzman on Friday held serve just three times in nine opportunities against Thiem, who relied on his powerful ground strokes to control the action on the red clay at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, reports Efe.

Thiem only put 51 percent of his first serves in play, but he made up for it by winning nearly 60 percent of his second-serve points over the course of the one hour, 15-minute quarter-final match.

With the win, Thiem remained on course for his eighth career title and sixth on clay; the eighth-ranked Austrian will next take on fifth-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a 6-2, 6-3 winner Friday over Argentine qualifier Nicolas Kicker.

The top seed at this year’s Rio Open, Japanese world No. 5 Kei Nishikori, was eliminated in the first round by Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci.

The Rio Open is part of the ATP World Tour’s February Latin America swing, which included tournaments in Quito and Buenos Aires earlier this month and will wrap up with events in Acapulco, Mexico; and Sao Paulo starting next week.

–IANS

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