#NextGenATP Ruud Upsets Sousa In Rio

Cuevas, Ramos-Vinolas, Djere advance on Thursday

#NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud continued to excel at the Rio Open presented by Claro on Thursday. Having reached his maiden ATP semi-final at this event in 2017, the 20-year-old defeated fifth seed Joao Sousa 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to put himself into the quarter-finals again in Rio de Janeiro.

“I always play far away from home, but Rio always makes me feel very welcome,” said Ruud. “I feel the atmosphere here and it’s great to have the crowd on my side.”

Sousa dug deep after facing a break point to trail 1-5 in the final set, but Ruud hung tough to advance after two hours and 11 minutes. The Norwegian, currently No. 135 in the ATP Rankings, will make his Top 100 debut on Monday if he defeats Laslo Djere of Serbia on Friday.

“It’s a great chance for another 500-level semifinal,” said Ruud. “[Djere] is maybe the favourite in the [ATP] Rankings, but I’ve shown some good tennis before here and hopefully I can again."

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Ruud enjoyed success on the ATP Challenger Tour last year by finishing runner-up at $50,000 events in Braga and Francavilla. He also excelled on bigger stages by reaching the quarter-finals last July at the Swedish Open and coming through qualifying at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open, advancing to the second round at the first two majors of the year.

Djere, who defeated top seed Dominic Thiem in the opening round, continued his inspired tennis with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Taro Daniel of Japan. The World No. 90 didn’t face a break point against Daniel and won 83 per cent (20/24) of his first-serve points.

Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay produced a statement win over recent Cordoba Open winner Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-1, 6-4. The 2016 champion wasted no time getting down to business on Quadra Guga Kuerten, dropping just one point on serve (16/17) in the opening set. He continued to dominate the baseline rallies in the second set and secured the win after just 68 minutes.

Awaiting Cuevas in the quarter-finals is Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, who scored an impressive 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 comeback victory over Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Delbonis served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Ramos-Vinolas rallied to advance after two hours and 20 minutes.

The Spaniard improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Delbonis to 2-3. Ramos-Vinolas trails his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Cuevas 1-6 and the Uruguayan has prevailed in their past five matches.

Bellucci & Dutra Silva Upset Top Seeds
Wild card pairing Thomaz Bellucci and Rogerio Dutra Silva won an all-Brazilian quarter-final battle to upset top seeds Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-5. Bellucci and Dutra Silva squandered two match points at 6/4 in the second-set tie-break, but recovered to advance in one hour and 30 minutes. They'll play Roman Jebavy and Andres Molteni, who defeated Marcelo Demoliner and Frederik Nielsen 3-6, 6-4, 10-3.

Second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah scored a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over British pair Luke Bambridge and Jonny O'Mara. Next up for the Colombian duo in the semi-finals are Maximo Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry, who outlasted third seeds Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos 4-6, 7-6(5), 12-10.

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