If Pablo Cuevas
is to lift his fourth successive Brasil Open
crown, he'll have to work for it.
Cuevas became the first player to advance to the semi-finals in Sao Paulo with a 6-2, 6-7(13), 7-6(5) win over Leonardo Mayer
on Friday. The tournament's third seed needed five match points before downing the Argentine in two hours and 55 minutes.
The total points won summarised the close contest: 111 for Mayer, 112 for Cuevas. After the match, the 32-year-old Uruguayan admitted he was proud of his 15-match winning streak at the Brasil Open
and happy to have support from the fans in attendance.
"It was a very tough, long match," Cuevas said. "I had a lot of chances in that second set [four match points]. Then in the third, my return wasn't so good, plus Leo was serving so well."
"The [15-match win streak] feels incredible. I felt the support from the Brazilian fans and today a lot of Uruguayans showed up, even the ex-captain of the Uruguayan soccer team [and Sao Paolo FC legend Diego Lugano] showed up. I'm happy to once again be in the semi-finals. I'm going to enjoy this win, play doubles later and focus on tomorrow's match."
With the win, Cuevas moves to 2-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Mayer. Cuevas will play second seed Fabio Fognini
for a spot in Sunday's final. The Italian advanced to his third semi-final of the year (Sydney International
, Rio Open presented by Claro
) with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
"I raised my game in the second set and I'm happy to advance to the semi-finals here," Fognini said. "It will be a hard match [against Cuevas]; we know each other well and he knows how to win here but I need to focus on my own game and just worry about that.
"It's another weekend and another event in which I'm playing this deep into an event so that's a good thing. Two more matches to go; let's see what happens tomorrow and hopefully I come out the winner."
Did You Know?
In all, Cuevas has played 11 tie-breaks at the Brasil Open
. In his previous match, the Uruguayan needed a tie-break to decide his second set against Sebastian Ofner
before prevailing 6-4, 7-6(4).