© SkiStar Swedish Open / Linda Carlsson

Alexandr Dolgopolov tops fifth seed Karen Khachanov to reach the semi-finals in Bastad.

Dolgopolov Saves 2 M.P. To Beat Khachanov

Ferrer sets semi-final clash with Verdasco

Alexandr Dolgopolov saved two match points to oust fifth seed Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(2) and reach the semi-finals of the SkiStar Swedish Open on Friday. The 28 year old from Ukraine withstood 20 aces from his #NextGenATP opponent in the match, which clocked in at exactly two hours.

"He was serving at 3-0 [in the third set] with a double break and my leg was troubling me a bit on serve," said Dolgopolov. "But the game went my way and I made a fast break and kept it to just one break. I was just playing my game, relaxed, not expecting anything because I was down a lot. I wasn't being too tough on myself and it just went my way I guess."

Dolgopolov, who hoisted the trophy in Buenos Aires earlier this year, will meet Andrey Kuznetsov for the first time for a spot in the final after the Russian ousted seventh seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3. Kuznetsov fired five aces and capitalised on four of his seven break point chances to advance to the semi-finals in 66 minutes.

“It was a good day for me. I played my best tennis so far this tournament. In these conditions it wasn’t easy… but I think I chose the right tactics and it was working. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Kuznetsov, who is looking to reach his first ATP World Tour final. “I feel good on the clay, and we’ll see.”

Sixth seed Fernando Verdasco closed on a third final appearance in Bastad as he defeated defending champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals. In an all-Spanish clash, Verdasco prevailed in 85 minutes, converting three of his 13 break point chances and dropping only 10 points on serve.

"I played one of my best matches of the year," said Verdasco. "I was very solid with my serve the whole match and had chances in most return games. I'm very happy with the level I played today and I think I need to produce this level at least if I want to be in the final again.

"I've been close two times in the finals and made quarter-finals and semi-finals. I've always played well here in Bastad and I always feel unbelievable. Since my first year here, in 2004, it's felt like home - although maybe not the same weather! The people are always so nice to me. It's my 10th time here, it's a nice number and hopefully I'll have a big chance to win the tournament here. It would be very special."

The 33-year-old Verdasco was runner-up at this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament in 2013 (l. to Berlocq) and against Ramos-Vinolas last year. The Madrid native is looking to win his eighth ATP World Tour title this week.

Verdasco goes on to face countryman and eighth seed David Ferrer who, in the last match of the day, saved two match points to prevail over Henri Laaksonen 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3). The two-time champion (2007, '12) needed two hours and 14 minutes to improve to 24-7 lifetime in Bastad and reach his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season.

“I think my experience was the key in the tie-break,” said Ferrer. “I tried to fight on the important points."

It will be the 21st meeting between Verdasco and Ferrer. The No. 8 seed leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 13-7.

"Fernando’s playing really good this season. He’s improved a lot and having a really good year. I feel this court is good for him,” added Ferrer.

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In doubles, the all-Dutch team of Sander Arends and Matwe Middelkoop reached the final with a 2-6, 6-2, 10-8 win over Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa. They await the winner of the match between Julian Knowle/Philipp Petzschner and home favourites Elias Ymer/Mikael Ymer.

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