Fernando Verdasco upset Dominic Thiem to reach the last four of the Rio Open

Fernando Verdasco hit this stunning forehand winner on his way to victory over Dominic Thiem

Veteran Spaniard Fernando Verdasco crushed this huge forehand on his way to a shock straight-sets win over against Dominic Thiem to reach the semi-finals in Rio.

Thiem had won the Argentina Open for his ninth career title and come into Rio as defending champion.

But Verdasco, 34, and his fabulous forehand came into play during their quarter-final meeting as he crushed the second-seeded Austrian’s hopes of retaining his title with a 6-4 6-0 hammering.

Their epic rally in the fourth game of the second set was the highlight of the match. It ended with Verdasco slamming a breathtaking screamer up the line. Click on the video at the top of the page to watch it.

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Verdasco will play fifth-seeded Fabio Fognini for a place in Sunday’s final after the Italian came through a feisty encounter against Alijaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-1.

The entertaining Fognini was up to his old tricks during the victory with a totally outrageous forehand drop shot, which had Bedene completely bewildered…

A quick grip change enabled Fognini to nail this superb drop shot during his win over Bedene

The other semi-final will be contested by sixth-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina and Chile’s Nicolas Jarry.

Schwartzman beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4, while Jarry topped Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 7-5 6-3 at the Jockey Club Brasileiro.

We’re covering the Rio Open, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, and ATP 500 Acapulco this February on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis.

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February 25, 2018, 8:00pm

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