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Fish Ends Qualifier's Run, Reaches 15th ATP World Tour Final

Newport, U.S.A.

Mardy Fish© Getty ImagesMardy Fish is through to his fourth semi-final of the season.

American Mardy Fish continued his rise back up the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Saturday when he reached his second ATP World Tour final of the year.

The fifth-seeded Florida resident knocked out British qualifier Richard Bloomfield 7-6(5), 6-4 in just over 90 minutes at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

He will meet fourth-seeded Belgian Olivier Rochus for the first time in three years on Sunday.

"I feel great about my chances tomorrow," said Fish. "Anytime you can win four or five matches in a week, you like your chances. You can’t bluff your way into a final. I’ll enjoy myself as I enjoy coming here."

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By reaching his 15th ATP World Tour final (3-11 record), Fish will jump to around World No. 59 on Monday. Should he capture the title on the Newport grass courts he will be around World No. 50.

Last month the former World No. 17 (22 March 2004) finished runner-up to Sam Querrey at the AEGON Championships in London. He has a 22-11 match record on the season.

There were no break points in the first set, which was decided on a tie-break. Fish gained a two-point cushion at 3-2 before clinching the 53-minute opener.

At 4-4 in the second set, Bloomfield led 40-15 but tightened up hitting three double faults. Fish converted his second break point opportunity when Bloomfield hit a backhand volley long.

"I didn’t give away too many points," said Fish. "I played pretty clean. He is a tricky player, he volleyed great today and hit close to the lines on a soft court. He is a pretty good athlete."

The 27-year-old Bloomfield, who has overcome back injuries in recent seasons, arrived in Newport without any grass-court shoes and did not expect to pass the qualifying competition before competing in six weeks of hard-court tournaments.

"I don’t think it was the sun. It was just three bad serves," said Bloomfield. "The first one I double-faulted and maybe then the second caused me to stop and I couldn’t find the rhythm. [But] I could have won."

At World No. 552 he was the third-lowest ranked semi-finalist since 2000. He is guaranteed to climb to around No. 292 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday.

Rochus has yet to drop a set en route to his eighth ATP World Tour final (2-5 mark). The 29 year old defeated World No. 105 Brian Dabul of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 in 87 minutes. He converted four of 10 break point opportunities and improved to a 12-16 season record.

Rochus, who was a semi-finalist here last year, is the first Belgian to reach the final in tournament history (since 1977). He has not dropped a set en route to the final. The last Belgian winner on the ATP World Tour was Steve Darcis in Memphis in February 2008. 

Fourth Seeds Reach Doubles Final
No. 4 seeds Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Travis Rettenmaier of Los Angeles advanced to the doubles final following a 6-3, 7-5 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel and Spaniard Santiago Ventura. On Sunday Gonzalez and Rettenmaier will take on the left-handed Aussie duo of Carsten Ball and Chris Guccione, who are appearing in their first ATP World Tour final. In May, Gonzalez and Rettenmaier captured their first ATP World Tour title in Belgrade. Prior to that tournament, Gonzalez and Rettenmaier played together the only time in tour level play at Wimbledon last year, losing in the first round. They did team up in five Challenger tournaments.

This week Ball and Guccione upset top seeds Fish and Querrey in the first round and in their next two wins they rolled on in straight sets. The last Aussie duo to win the Newport title was Jordan Kerr and David Macpherson in 2003. Gonzalez and Rettenmaier have only dropped one set this week, that coming in the quarter-finals.  

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© Kate Whitney Lucey

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