Many were expecting to see two blockbuster showdowns on quarterfinal day at the Rio Open. However, fans were disappointed when they found out Rafael Nadal got through via a walkover. However, many got to witness a fantastic day of tennis, thanks to a first-time semifinalist and the continued breakthrough of one Dominic Thiem.
Guido Pella's great run of form continued in Rio, as the Argentinian won a wild 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 battle with Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Gimeno-Taver had some difficulty on serve, missing 51 percent of his first serves and double faulting nine times. Pella took advantage, breaking him five times in the match.
The first set with wild, each man breaking twice in the early stages, only for Gimeno-Traver to grab the late break to grab the lead. But Pella quickly turned the momentum into his favour, racing through the second set. The Argentinian defended his serve well in the final set, and returned the favor from the first set by breaking Gimeno-Traver late and reaching his first ATP World Tour semifinal.
Pablo Cuevas and Frederico Delbonis were forced to fight through a rain-delayed quarterfinal on Thursday. Cuevas came out strong, dominating his serve in the opening set. He won 82 percent of his first serve points and did not allow his Argentinian opponent a single break point opportunity. He managed one break of his own to seal the opening set.
Delbonis turned the tables on the Uruguayan early in the second set, grabbing an early break and holding for a 4-2, dropping only two points on serve. At that point, the rain came and delayed over two hours. The delay seemed to kill Delbonis momentum, as he was broken immediately after play resumed. Cuevas was able to finish off Delbonis 6-4, 7-6(4).
Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals without having to hit a ball, as his opponent, Alexandr Dolgopolov, was forced to withdraw with a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, in the blockbuster quarterfinal, it was Dominic Thiem who came out on top over David Ferrer. The Spaniard broke early in the first set, leading 3-2, before the Austrian stormed back to continue his hot run on the clay. The key to the opening set was Thiem winning more points on his serve despite getting broken. He also saved three of four break points in the opening set. The dominant serving for Thiem continued in the second set, securing his spot in the semifinal. Thiem will face Pella in the semifinals while Nadal will meet Cuevas.