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Rio Open to have 4 ATP top-20 players in draw

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman celebrates after winning the Rio Open on Feb. 25, 2018, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. EPA-EFE FILE/Marcelo Sayão

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman celebrates after winning the Rio Open on Feb. 25, 2018, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. EPA-EFE FILE/Marcelo Sayão

EFE

The Rio Open, which will take place Feb. 16-24, will welcome four players in the ATP ‘s top 20 to this Brazilian city, organizers said Tuesday.

The entry list for the event, the only ATP 500 tournament in South America, includes Austria’s Dominic Thiem, the world No. 8; Italians Fabio Fognini , the world No. 13, and Marco Cecchinato, who is ranked 18th in the world; and Argentine defending champion Diego Schwartzman, the world No. 19.

Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas , who is ranked 90th in the world; Argentine Guido Pella, the world No. 66; Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta, the world No. 24; and Chilean world No. 43 Nicolas Jarry are also in the draw.

“We had guaranteed the three best clay-court players in the world - Thiem, Fognini and Schwartzman - and now we also have Cecchinato, who had a terrific season in 2018,” tournament director Luiz Carvalho said.

The 2019 Rio Open will feature seven of the 10 players with the most clay-court victories in 2018, Carvalho said.

Thiem, the Rio Open champion two years ago, returns to Brazil after reaching his first major final at the French Open in 2018.

Last year, the 26-year-old Schwartzman defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-3 in the final in Rio de Janeiro, winning his first ATP 500 event.

The Argentine reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay.

Fognini, who has played in all five prior editions of the Rio Open, was the finalist in 2015 and made it to the semis last year.

In 2018, the feisty Italian won titles in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos.

Cecchinato, for his part, is coming off the best season of his career, having beaten world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarterfinals and reaching his first major semis in Paris.

The Italian is off to a good start in 2019, advancing to the semifinals in Doha.


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