Dimitrov Moves Up In London Race, Reaches Stockholm Final
The seven-time ATP World Tour titlist has reached three finals this season, and gone on to capture the trophy at each event (Brisbane, Sofia, Cincinnati).
"It's another final. That's all I can ask for," Dimitrov said. "It's very tricky playing against Fabio. After such a good first set from me, he took the lead in the second, so I had to uplift myself a little bit, trying to stay as positive as I can, and it was a great tie-break as well."
Dimitrov did not have it easy against Fognini, though. The flashy Fognini made it clear from the first ball that he wanted to control the pace of play from the baseline, being especially aggressive on the forehand side.
That cost him dearly in the fourth game of the opening set as after a quick start — he earned two break points in the third game — Fognini conceded serve with a loose service game that he lost with a wild forehand into the net.
After Dimitrov held to close out the opener, dropping just one point on serve, he looked to be in complete control when he broke to begin the second set with a running forehand from deep behind the baseline to which Fognini responded with a drop shot into the net.
But the Italian began to cut down on his mistakes to battle back into the match, breaking back and then moving ahead a break himself with a 4-2 lead. But Dimitrov hit a tremendous backhand down the line winner to get back on serve and would not slip up again, closing it out in straight sets.
The Bulgarian extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series advantage over the Italian to 4-2, winning for the fourth time in their past five matches. It was the end of a week of valiant efforts for Fognini, who saved one match point against Elias Ymer in the second round, and two match points on Friday against third seed Jack Sock in the quarter-finals.
The 26-year-old Dimitrov will face the winner in the day’s second semi-final, defending champion Juan Martin del Potro.
"It's a final day so all you've got to focus on is what you can do," Dimitrov said. "I'm just going to focus on my rest, on what I can do and hopefully I can go out there tomorrow and play a better game than today."
Dimitrov, who will be competing in his 13th final, has played del Potro three times this year, winning both matches on hard court, including a 7-6(6), 7-5 triumph over the Argentine at the China Open earlier this month.
However, del Potro leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-2, and defeated his fellow right-hander in the Stockholm semi-finals last year en route to the title.