David Ferrer recorded a 6-2 6-3 victory over Fabio Fognini to secure his first Rio Open title on Sunday. World number 28 Fognini reached the final after ending Rafael Nadal’s 52-match winning streak in semi-finals on clay on Saturday. Spaniard Ferrer took just an hour and 23 minutes to wrap up the win. The 32-year-old twice broke his Italian opponent’s serve in the opening set, and secured a decisive break in the fourth game of the second.
“It’s been a very special week for me,” said Ferrer after taking his series with Fognini, the Australian Open doubles champion, to a perfect 8-0.
“I promise next year I will learn how to dance samba,” Ferrer joked as he addressed the crowd at the swish Jockey Club in downtown Rio, bringing the curtain down on the $1.5 million event.
For Fognini, there was the compensation at least of a first win over Nadal, making him feel as good as if he had actually won the title.
“Sorry David, nothing against you, but I beat the king of clay,” said Fognini.
Ferrer took the joke in good heart.
“You said you beat the king of clay but the king of clay is right here, it’s Guga Kuerten. Rafa still has time for such accolades,” said the new champion.
In the women’s final, top-seeded Sara Errani of Italy defeated Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia 7-6 (7-2) 6-1. It was Errani’s eighth WTA singles title and her first since winning two years ago in Acapulco, Mexico.
The victory also moves Errani up to No. 12 in the WTA ranking, ever closer to returning to the top 10.
“I’m close, but that’s not my objective,” she said. “The most important thing for me is to practice well, do things right and improve. And I think when you do things the right way, other things follow.”
Errani could be back in Rio twice next year – for this tournament and the Olympics. She and partner Roberta Vinci lost to the Williams sisters in the quarterfinals of the London Olympics.
One drawback for Errani: Rio’s Olympic tennis will be on hardcourts, not clay.
“It’s a shame they won’t be on clay,” she said. “I was hoping they would be.”
Schmiedlova was playing in her first final.