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Rosol Reaches First Final In Bucharest; Garcia-Lopez Tops Mayer

Bucharest, Romania

Garcia-Lopez© Raed KrishanGuillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated 2011 champion Florian Mayer.

Lukas Rosol will bid to lift his first ATP World Tour trophy Sunday in Bucharest after a stellar performance saw the Czech oust three-time champion Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-3 in Saturday’s semi-finals at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy. Rosol will square off against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez for the first time in an all-unseeded final.

“I knew that I could beat him if I played good tennis,” said Rosol. “I’m happy because today my game was working really well. Tomorrow I hope to win my first final. I have a good record at Challengers, where I only lost one of my six finals. So I hope that I can continue this good run. For sure, this tournament will always be in my memory since I reached my first final here.” 

Most widely remembered for his stunning second-round upset over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last year, Rosol was contesting his first tour-level semi-final against Simon. For the second straight day, the World No. 48 stepped up on his serve when it counted most, erasing all eight break points he faced to dismiss the second-seeded Frenchman in 78 minutes, knocking off his third seeded opponent of the week. Simon saw his 16-match win streak at the event come to an end.

“I was not playing well with my backhand and gave him too many easy points. I only started playing well in the middle of the second set and that ended up being too late,” Simon said. “Lukas was confident, got off a great start and played some beautiful points. I’m obviously very disappointed about losing in the semi-finals here.”

In his past two matches, Rosol has saved 18 break points en route to the title match. The 27 year old is looking to become the third first-time winner this season, with Bernard Tomic triumphing at the Apia International Sydney (d. Anderson) and Horacio Zeballos topping Rafael Nadal at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar.

Garcia-Lopez has put together an equally impressive run, also toppling three seeds to reach the final. A day after knocking out World No. 10 Janko Tipsarevic, Garcia-Lopez backed up the victory by defeating fifth seed and 2011 titlist Florian Mayer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and nine minutes.

“I'm really happy right now. It's [been] a long time since I played in a final,” said Garcia-Lopez. “I feel really good. Every match here, I've played three sets. So that makes me confident because I've been winning the matches in the last set.”

The Spaniard is aiming to win his first title since October 2010, when he shocked Nadal en route to capturing the crown at the Thailand Open in Bangkok (d. Nieminen). Entering the month of April, the 87th-ranked Garcia-Lopez was winless in six tour-level matches, but has since advanced to the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca (l. to Wawrinka) and finished runner-up at the Rome Challenger (l. to Reister). 

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©Neven Gerencir

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