Dominic Thiem, Pablo Carreno Busta reach Rio final

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 26, 2017 at 1:32 PM
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Second-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria breezed into the final of the Rio Open with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over fifth-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain on Saturday at the Jockey Club Brasiliero in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Joining Thiem in the final of the clay-court event is fourth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. He rallied from a set down to defeat wild card Casper Ruud of Norway 2-6, 7-5, 6-0.

Thiem, No. 8 in the ATP World Tour rankings, has not lost a set all week in reaching his 11th tour final. Eight of his career titles have come on clay.

"Now I'm feeling really good again about my game," Thiem said. "On clay, I almost all the time feel great. I knew that this week was going to be very important because I didn't have much confidence before."

In Saturday's semifinal, Thiem had two early breaks while dominating the first set. The second set was tied 4-4 before Thiem closed out Ramos-Vinolas in a match that lasted 1:22.

Thiem had 21 winners and Ramos-Vinolas was hurt by 32 unforced errors.

"I'm really happy this week," Thiem said. "I raised my game with every match. I'm happy to be back on clay in general, and I honestly didn't expect the transition to go so fast. I think I'm a better player than I was last year, so we'll see how the final will go tomorrow."

The 23-year-old has a 5-1 career record against Carreno Busta. The two last met in the third round of the 2016 U.S. Open.

Carreno Busta will be playing in his fifth ATP World Tour final, but it took a major rally for him to get there.

The 18-year-old Ruud played aggressively from the start against Carreno Busta. He won the first set 6-2 and was leading 4-2 in the second before Carreno Busta responded.

Carreno Busta survived a match point trailing 5-4. From there, he won 11 of the next 12 games to take the second set. Then it was all Carreno Busta in the third set.

"To get to the singles final in a tournament like this is really tough, even more so to also do it in doubles, said Carreno Busta, who reached the doubles final with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. "It's been a great week so far."

Ruud was attempting to become the youngest player to reach an ATP singles final since Kei Nishikori nine years ago.

"I didn't play too well in the last set," Ruud said. "I had my chances, obviously. I was one point away. Toward the end of the second and the third I just got into this rhythm I couldn't get out of."

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