Second-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem advanced to the semifinal of the ATP Rio Open for the second straight year on Friday with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Thiem won 11 of the first 13 games to put Schwartzman on the ropes before the latter rallied by breaking the former twice in a three-game stretch. Thiem regained his composure and hit an impressive passing shot that brought the crowd to its feet on his way toward ending the match after 1 hour, 15 minutes.
"I've tried it quite a lot of times and haven't come close, so that was definitely the best shot I've ever hit in my life," Thiem said. "I think there's a little bit of luck involved as well."
Thiem advances to the semifinals to face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who breezed to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Argentine qualifier Nicolas Kicker. Ramos-Vinolas has enjoyed a hot stretch this month by advancing the semifinals in Quito and the quarters in Buenos Aires.
"It's my first semifinal at a 500 tournament, so I'm very happy," Ramos-Vinolas said after winning the match in 1 hour, 14 minutes. "I'm playing at a good level at the moment on clay and hope to keep it going for the next round."
Fourth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta advanced to the semifinals after Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov retired due to injury in the third set.
Carreno Busta was leading the match 7-6 (4), 6-7 (2), 1-0 and will face Norwegian teenager Casper Ruud, who posted a 6-2, 7-6 (2) win over Brazil's Thiago Monteiro.