Fognini Saves 2 M.P. To Set Dzumhur Final
Action-packed semi-finals in St. Petersburg
Fabio Fognini saved two match points as he prevailed in a gripping semi-final clash with Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday at the St. Petersburg Open, edging the top-seeded Spaniard 2-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5).
Fognini will look to win his sixth ATP World Tour title when he faces Damir Dzumhur in Sunday’s final of this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament. Dzumhur reached his second ATP World Tour final as he defeated eighth seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 7-5.
Fognini, who was a finalist in St. Petersburg five years ago (l. to Klizan), battled past Bautista Agut in a pulsating clash, lasting two hours and 28 minutes. Bautista Agut led the contest 6-2, 3-1 and held two match points at 6/5 and 7/6 in the second set tie-break, but could not close out the win. Neither player could engineer a break of serve in the decider, and from 3/5 down in the tie-break, Fognini won the last four points to prevail.
"It was a really tough match at the beginning," said Fognini. "He was playing really fast and really solid at the same time. I'm really happy that I came back to win."
The 30-year-old Fognini is chasing his second title of the season, following victory on clay in Gstaad in July (d. Hanfmann). This would be his first hard-court title. The right-hander leads Dzumhur 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
The 25-year-old Dzumhur is enjoying a career-best year and has surged to a career-high World No. 55 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Los Cabos (l. to Querrey) followed by his first final in Winston-Salem (l. to Bautista Agut).
In his first ATP meeting with the 6’5’’ Struff, the 5’9’’ Dzumhur withstood seven aces as he converted five of his seven break points to prevail in 80 minutes.
"It was a great day for me," said Dzumhur. "I played from the start until the end at a high level. I think I took my chances. Today was one of the best matches of the past few months for me. I'm really happy to go through to my second final.
"I knew that I had to play better than yesterday (against Liam Broady) and I tried to fix the things that didn't work yesterday, especially my serve and my forehand. Also, my returns were great. I was making him play more, because he likes fast points. I think I won because I didn't give him easy balls that he likes."
Jebavy/Middelkoop Upset Second Seeds
Roman Jebavy and Matwe Middelkoop reached their first ATP World Tour doubles final together as they denied second seeds Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 6-1. The Czech/Dutch duo will face top seeds Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos in the final.