Alcaraz drops set but recovers to beat Fognini at Rio Open
RIO DE JANEIRO. Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz was far from in top form against veteran Fabio Fognini but managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Rio Open on Thursday.
Alcaraz, who took first place, defeated the 35-year-old Italian 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 in 2 hours and 47 minutes. The next opponent for the US Open champion will be Dusan Lajovic, who beat his Serbian compatriot Laszlo Djere 6-2, 6-4.
Alcaraz, 19, is playing his second tournament after being sidelined for four months with a right leg injury.
The Spaniard won the Argentine Open last Sunday, losing just one set in the tournament.
However, in Rio Alcaraz was far less dominant against both opponents he faced: No. 556 Mateus Alves, whom Alcaraz beat 6-4, 6-4, and No. 86 Fognini.
“It was a match of ups and downs,” Alcaraz said of his victory over Fognini. “In games like this against players like him, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity.”
Alcaraz took Fognini 3-0 up in the first set, but a series of unforced errors allowed the Italian to fight back and win in the tie-break.
In the third set, Alcaraz again had a 3-0 lead, but saw the Italian bounce back and set up a comeback, but the teen’s energy and strong forehands took over.
“I struggled a bit with my serve. I controlled the match well. But a lot of breaks in a row,” said Alcaraz. “I had chances to improve my serve game and I think I did.”
Earlier, Bernabé Zapata Miralles knocked out fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. His quarter-final will be against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who beat Daniel Elahi Galán 6-2, 6-4.
Sebastian Baez will face Nicolas Jarry in the next round. Baez beat Juan Pablo Varillas 7-5, 7-6 (6) and Harry beat Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-2.
The fourth quarter-final will be played by Cameron Norrie and Hugo Dellien. Second-placed Norrie could face Alcaraz in the final, as he did last Sunday at the Argentine Open, where Alcaraz won in straight sets.
Alcaraz drops set but recovers to defeat Fognini at Rio Open originally appeared on NBCSports.com