Re: Rio de Janeiro Draws and Results  -- CLAY SEND NEW POINTS
Benedetti, Perez to Meet in Finals of Surprisingly Exciting Rio
With many of the top players off playing in Dubai, International level tournament, the Rio Open, seemed like an after thought. As is commonplace on the FWTT tour, the majority of players dashed off to competed in this week's premier level tournament, leaving the international tournament hoping to simply break into the black.
But the initial opportunity to spend a week on clay left several of the tour's players to dash off to sunny Rio de Janeiro. Despite the small crowds and low key press coverage, the tournament directors could not have asked for better matches, which they hope will entice more fans into the stands at next year's tournament.
Four of the biggest names to travel to Brazil found themselves in the semifinals, setting up a great storyline. The Italian beauties battling in one semifinal pitting the tour's "Glamour Girl" Regla Torres versus her doubles partner the tour's Crybaby", Giuseppina Benedetti. The other semifinal pitted the tour's "Drama Queen", Victoria Perez, against the tour's "Original Nice Girl", veteran Jane Wong. Wong, Torres, and Benedetti are all known for their clay court prowess, so it wasn't shocking to see them there. Perez, who started her career known for causing trouble for other players off court, but not on court, has continued to make progress every year and looks to become a top 10 player this season.
In the first semifinal, good friends and double partners Benedetti and Torres renewed their rivalry for the 10th time. While Torres was hot off a big performance in Doha, it was Giusa with her patient clay court play who came out victorious, marking her 4th win against her Fed Cup teammate. While it is often uncomfortable and ugly to watch good friends play each other on the court, Benedetti and Torres both put on an excellent display, having their contrasting styles of play and contrasting personalities on exhibit. Benedetti was full of screeches, groans, laughs, and fist pumps as always, while Torres stayed steely cool and calm throughout. It was only after hitting a match winning backhand down the line at 6-5 40-30, that Giusa slowed her excitement, opting for a short glance to her box, a quick smile, and a reassuring hug for Torres.
Perez and Wong didn't disappoint in the follower, with the tour veteran looking as strong as she has since her comeback in the second set, but ran out of gas in the final set. Perez took advantage, but also hit some impressive shots that surprised even herself.
Perez and Benedetti will meet tomorrow afternoon in the finals. The two have been known to have a bit of a feud in the past, putting an extra spin on the match. Despite having experienced more success in her career than Vittoria, Giusa has never beaten her, sitting at 0-4 in their head to head, which includes a 7-5 third set lost in the memorable Bogota semifinals match last season, which was known for being one of the most dramatic matches/tournaments in the past year.
Benedetti and Torres, who are the top seeds in doubles, will also be playing for their first doubles title of the year tomorrow, facing the second seeds, Anna Kendall and Sofia Keddison. Kendall and Benedetti have had their differences as well, making tomorrow a potentially vindicating day for the Italian.
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario Always #1