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Gasquet, Lopez Reach Eastbourne Final

Eastbourne, Great Britain

Istomin© AFP/Getty ImagesRichard Gasquet dismissed Denis Istomin to reach the Eastbourne final.

After missing most of the clay-court season with a back injury, Richard Gasquet celebrated his return to form and fitness Friday as he reached the final of the Aegon International in Eastbourne with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Denis Istomin.

"I played a good match today. It was important to play well because Denis is dangerous," explained the 28 year old. "The key on grass is to serve and return well. I managed to do it. I'm very happy with the way I played, because it's always difficult to play on grass... You need to be strong on every point."

The top-seeded Frenchman converted three of his six break points and was unbroken in the match as he claimed victory in 71 minutes. Gasquet improved to a 15-2 record at this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament. He won back-to-back titles in 2005 (d. Mirnyi) and 2006 (d. Bjorkman) when it was staged in Nottingham, where it will return next year.

In Saturday’s final, Gasquet bids to win his 11th ATP World Tour title in his 22nd final when he faces defending champion Feliciano Lopez.

The left-handed Spaniard secured a 6-4, 7-6(4) semi-final victory over Sam Querrey in 77 minutes, improving to 5-2 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the American. Lopez saved the lone break point he faced, in the second set, and won 91 per cent of his first-serve points.

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In a quarter-final match carried over from Thursday, Lopez kept up his good run of form as he defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4. The Spanish left-hander won 77 per cent of his service points, not facing a single break point, as he improved to a 3-1 lead in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Lopez came into this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament having held a match point in finishing runner-up to Grigor Dimitrov at The Queen’s Club last week. The 32 year old won his first grass-court trophy last year in Eastbourne when he defeated Gilles Simon in the final.

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