© Chengdu Open

Albert Ramos-Viñolas avanza en Chengdu a su primera final sobre cancha dura.

Ramos-Vinolas Wins Thriller To Reach Chengdu Final

Spaniard ousts Dimitrov in semis

Albert Ramos-Vinolas backed up his victory over top seed Dominic Thiem by advancing to his first ATP World Tour hard-court final at the Chengdu Open on Saturday.

The fifth-seeded Spaniard ousted third seed Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(6), 1-6, 7-6(3) in a titanic tussle lasting just under three hours. He will now face #NextGen star Karen Khachanov in the final.

Ramos-Vinolas is currently at a career-high No. 31 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and poised to crack the Top 30 after reaching his third ATP World Tour final. After finishing runner-up in the Casablanca final four years ago (l. to Andujar), Ramos-Vinolas lifted his first trophy earlier this year on clay in Bastad, defeating Fernando Verdasco.

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“The match was tough, it was almost three hours," said Ramos-Vinolas. "I'm very happy because I beat a great player. He will be one of the best in a few years. It is another final for me tomorrow and I cannot be more happy. I was a little tired after the first set so I maybe needed some time to recover and I did a little bit (in the second). I think the third set was physically very, very tough. I kept on fighting and that's why I am very happy because it was very difficult to win." 

Now with a career-best 30 match wins in 2016 (30-25), the 28-year-old Ramos Vinolas is set to finish in the Top 50 for the first time.

It was a rollercoaster of a ride for Ramos-Vinolas against Dimitrov, whom he had lost to in their two previous contests. The left-hander saved three set points as he rallied from 3-6 down in the first-set tie-break to clinch the opener. Dimitrov took charge of the second set, breaking three times and losing just one point on serve as he levelled the match.

However, after saving five break points in the second game of the decider to halt Dimitrov's run of games, Ramos-Vinolas immediately broke in the following game and opened up a 3-1 lead. Dimitrov fought back as Ramos-Vinolas served for the match, breaking in the 10th game and forcing a tie-break, but the Spaniard dominated and converted his third match point.

Dimitrov is on the cusp of returning to the Top 20 after falling to No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 18 July, his lowest position in more than three years. Since joining forces with Dani Vallverdu over the summer, the Bulgarian has enjoyed a resurgence in form, highlighted by reaching the semi-finals in Cincinnati (l. to Cilic).

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