After rain disrupted the schedule on quarterfinals day at the Rio Open, the second semifinal was not set until earlier today, leaving two of the remaining four players little turnaround time. Nonetheless, there should be plenty of entertaining action for the fans to enjoy in Rio de Janeiro, with two intriguing semifinal matches on the slate. But who will book their place in the final?
Rio Open Semifinal Predictions
Cristian Garin vs Borna Coric
Head-to-head: Coric 1-0 Garin
Borna Coric arrived at the Rio Open a man in need of wins, but he has responded to that pressure in fine fashion. The Croatian has notched victories over Juan Ignacio Londero, Thiago Seyboth Wild and Lorenzo Sonego, dropping just one set in the process. But he will surely need to be at his very best if he is to find a way past the in-form Cristian Garin, who won the title in Cordoba to kick off the Golden Swing a fortnight ago.
That said, the Chilean, seeded third in Rio, has had to work hard for his place in the last four. He opened his campaign by battling back from a set down to beat Andrej Martin, backing that up with a more comfortable straight-sets win over Federico Delbonis. But in the quarterfinals, he was again taken the distance, but hung tough to beat the qualifier Federico Coria, bringing the Argentine’s dream run to an end with a 2-6 6-3 7-5 win.
This will be only the second meeting between the pair, with Coric winning the first last season on the grass in Den Bosch. But there was almost nothing to split them, with the match going to a third-set tiebreak. That may well give Garin confidence, with grass his worst surface and clay his favourite, although this match also looks more than likely to go the distance. But with Garin in such fine form, he should be the man to find a way to get across the line and into the Rio Open final.
Prediction: Garin in 3
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Gianluca Mager vs Attila Balazs
Head-to-head: Mager 1-0 Balazs
This will be the second meeting between Gianluca Mager and Attila Balazs. The first came earlier this week in the final round of qualifying at the Rio Open, with Mager recording a comprehensive 6-0 6-2 win. And the Italian has continued the fine form he showed in the qualifying in the main draw, storming into the semifinals without dropping a set. That is a feat made all the more impressive by the players he has faced so far in Rio, with neither Buenos Aires champion Casper Ruud nor top seed and three-time Major finalist Dominic Thiem able to stop him.
But Balazs has taken full advantage of the reprieve he was given following his humbling defeat at Mager’s hands. The Hungarian opened his campaign with a fine win over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and he followed that up with battling victories over home hope Thiago Monteiro and Pedro Martinez of Spain. He will now surely be able to approach his rematch with Mager with renewed confidence, despite the one-sided result of the previous contest.
But though the scoreline may well be closer in Mager-Balazs II, it is still hard to foresee a different result. Mager has faced the tougher draw of the two men and he has negotiated it in incredibly impressive fashion. Balazs has shown his quality at times, but he has also remained plagued by inconsistency and has made a slow start on more than one occasion. Any repeat of that inconsistency in the semifinals is sure to be punished by Mager.
Predictions: Mager in 2
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