Thiem wins Rio Open on clay for 8th ATP singles title

Second-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem cruised into the semi-finals of the Rio Open tennis championships with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman.

The Rio Open is part of the ATP World Tour's February Latin America swing, which included tournaments in Quito and Buenos Aires earlier this month and will wrap up with events in Acapulco, Mexico; and Sao Paulo starting next week.

World number eight and second seed Thiem came into the match as favourite, and after an early wobble he rediscovered his poise to see out a 7-5 6-4 success for his first Tour win since June past year. "Toward the end of the second and the third I just got into this rhythm I couldn't get out of". He broke inexperienced rival at love in game 11 to move 6-5 in front and he grabbed the second set by 7-5 a few minutes later, suddenly being the clear favorite for the overall win.

Carreno Busta is now winless in four matches against Thiem.

Thiem, who is 23, will be seeking an eighth ATP singles title, five of which have come on his favored clay surface. "I feel great the way I'm playing". "I knew that this week was going to be very important because I didn't have much confidence before". "It's been a great week so far", the Spaniard said.

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta celebrates his victory over Norway's Casper Ruud at the semi-finals of the Rio Open tennis tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. Carreno Busta stayed in touch only until 2-2, squandering the next 4 games to lose the opener 6-2, as the youngster broke him at love in game 8 to close the impressive first set.

The 2017 Rio Open became a pivotal point in Thiem's season.

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  • Leroy Wright