(Associated Press) Top-seeded Rafael Nadal overcame the stiffest test so far in his first clay-court tournament of the season, defeating No. 6 Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Rio Open. The match ended at 3:21 in the morning local time on Saturday —more than 14 hours after the tournament opened play on Friday, as organizers scheduled all five top matches on center court, and they all went to three sets.
Rafa was not happy at being kept up so late: “No tennis tournament should end at this time,” he said. “It’s tough for the players, but maybe worse for the fans. It’s very bad on the part of the ATP. It’s not the tournament’s fault. It was the ATP that didn’t want to reschedule a match. If it’s a Grand Slam you have a day to rest. It’s seems like a terrible error to me.”
Rafa will have about 16 hours to rest before he faces No. 4 Fabio Fognini in Saturday’s semi-finals: “It’s a big win for me. I’m in the semi-finals. It’s a great result and it gives me confidence.”