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Rafael Nadal in semi-finals of Rio Open, could face Thiem in finals

He had been due to face Alexandr Dolgopolov, who withdrew with an injury.

Rafa Nadal Rio Open 2016
Nadal progressed after Alexandr Dolgopolov bowed out with an injury

World No. 5 Rafael Nadal, who has been struggling with his form of late, has made it to the semi-finals of the ATP500 Rio Open in the Brazilian city, after Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov bowed out with an injury.

Nadal, top-seeded at the tournament, beat compatriot Nicolas Almagro in straight sets to progress to the quarter-finals of the event, with Dolgopolov sustaining a shoulder injury in a doubles match the previous day and as a result, unable to play the Spaniard.

Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who won his own quarter-final match against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, will be Nadal’s next opponent. The two have played each other twice in the past, with Nadal victorious each time. Both had been on clay, a surface Nadal is known for his mastery of.

Should Nadal win his semi-final, it is likely he will face Austrian 22-year-old Dominic Thiem, who beat Nadal in the semi-finals of the Argentine Open last week, went on to win that title – the fourth of his career.

Considering Thiem’s form – the player is now the youngest in the top 20, he is considered to be a favourite title contender. Not only did he defeat Nadal last week in Buenos Aires, but Thiem also defeated his compatriot, Davis Cup teammate and longtime rival David Ferrer in straight sets – 6-5, 6-2.

Thiem will now play Guido Pella of Argentina for the first time in the pair’s careers.

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