By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The third annual Rio Open ATP 500 competition has been disrupted by rain and the odd surprise since play began at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Gávea at the beginning of the week. On Wednesday, February 17th, Brazilian player Thiago Monteiro, who is just 21 years old and who entered the competition as a wildcard, beat top-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Monteiro is 338th in the world compared to his opponent, who is ninth. The Brazilian held onto a tightly fought match, eventually winning two sets to one, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
“I don’t have much to say, that happened,” Monteiro told SporTV. “I felt I did well. He [Tsonga] felt the climate conditions. It was very hot for both of us.”
“This victory made me believe even more in me, in my game. But at the same time I know I have a long way to go, a lot of work to do, to reach the top one hundred,” he added.
The last time a Brazilian player beat one of the world’s top ten was when Thomaz Bellucci defeated Spain’s David Ferrer in Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo in 2012. Bellucci was also competing in this year’s Rio Open but went out in the first round, losing to Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov on Tuesday.
Defending champion Ferrer’s match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain was rained off and many other matches were delayed or rescheduled due to heavy rain. Austrian youngster Dominic Thiem, who has been marked as one to watch, was won of the few to complete his match. He is now through to the quarter-finals after knocking out Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 7-5.
Former World number one, Rafael Nadal, is the favorite to win the tournament, having previously been victorious and having beaten fellow countryman Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-4 in a rainy match on Wednesday. He goes onto play another Spaniard, Nicolas Almargo, later today.