Red-hot Schwartzman races to Rio Open glory
Diego Schwartzman denied Fernando Verdasco a Rio Open double with an emphatic 6-2 6-3 victory in the men's singles final.
Veteran Spaniard and eighth seed Verdasco won the tournament's doubles event with compatriot David Marrero on Saturday, but proved no match for Schwartzman, who was already guaranteed to break into the world's top 20 for the first time on Monday.
Schwartzman had not dropped a set all week ahead of the final and maintained that record with a degree of comfort to secure the second - and biggest - ATP World Tour title of his career.
Although Verdasco broke in the first game with the aid of a trademark forehand down the line, the 34-year-old immediately gave up that advantage and soon found himself behind as he was punished for a succession of unforced errors.
While both men hit 15 winners, sixth seed Schwartzman was able to limit his error count and that ultimately proved decisive.
After racing through the opening set, the Argentine came under pressure early in the second, saving five break points as Verdasco rallied.
Schwartzman then claimed a break of his own to leave his opponent deflated and there was to be no way back for Verdasco, who was seeking his first ATP 500 crown since 2010.