The 32-men-draw at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors has been whittled down to four players competing in the semi-finals at Dome Sportova on Saturday.
Guillermo García-López gained his third victory in his third encounter against Marcos Baghdatis winning 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes. The 29-year-old from Limassol just made too many unforced errors, in particular in the early stages of the match. García-López converted four of his nine break point opportunities and reached his first ATP final since winning the title in Casablanca in April last year.
“In the first set I served very well today. I was in charge, playing aggressively and I was a break up in the beginning. Then it went away from my hands in the opening set. In the second set, I had no regrets. Guillermo played very well. He returned well with a lot of pressure and found the right way winning the match today,” Baghdatis had to admit and added that he feels like at home in Zagreb. “Even the tournament director here told me that I am the only Croatian left in the draw. I speak a bit the language and I am improving,” Baghdatis, who is married to former Croatian tennis player Karolina Sprem, said. The Cypriot is only having some problems to tell about his further schedule. “Due to my ranking I cannot choose the tournaments I want to play at the moment. I’d love to play in Dubai and asked for a wild card. Let’s see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out, I maybe play some more Challengers before Indian Wells and Miami. At the moment I feel a bit tired and I would like to take two weeks off for practice,” the world number 67 explained.
“We both started the match a bit nervous. He broke me with my first service game but I gained the break back. Then, I think, we both played really good tennis with a lot of good rallies from the baseline. The key was in the ninth game of the second set, in which I was a bit more solid and Marcos did some mistakes with his forehand. I broke his serve and I am really happy to reach the final,” García-López told afterwards. “Marcos is a really nice guy, funny and kind with everyone. I have a really good relationship with him but there is just one player, who can win the match,” the 31-year-old Spaniard explained the hug between the two players right after the encounter. “I am still feeling the jet lag from Melbourne and still have problems to sleep at night. The surface here in Zagreb is different compared to Australia. The balls are bouncing higher and the court is slower. You need to adapt your game,” García-López told about the conditions indoors and the difficulties coming from down under, where he reached his first fourth round at a major.
García-López would have preferred a repeat of last year’s Casablanca final but the other finalist back then, Marcel Granollers, was not able to follow his compatriot into Sunday’s Zagreb climax, as Andreas Seppi beat the Spaniard in their sixth meeting (H2H: 3-3) winning 7-6, 6-1 in 90 minutes and was understandably happy afterwards.
“I tried to reach the final here every year but I couldn’t make it. Of course it’s very special but it was not an easy match today, especially in the beginning. I was a break down and the set went into the tie-break. I served well and played pretty well on my own points but it was very tight. It became a bit more relaxed in the second set and for sure I played some better tennis towards the end of the match,” Seppi said afterwards and was happy not to be forced to go the distance today like in his three matches before during this week. “I have to say that I do not feel so tired but winning in two sets is also good for the confidence. I have never had a good start into a season. I always needed some matches after the off-season. In the past, I didn’t feel so good on court when I started to compete but this year it is different. I had some good wins in Doha and also in Australia. After this year in Doha, I realized that I feel good hitting the balls very clean. Now I have to stay physically at the top, which is the most important thing,” the world number 41 told about his successful start into the year by reaching the semi-finals in Doha as well as the fourth round in Melbourne, which included a victory over Roger Federer. “Reaching the final here in Zagreb and gaining a win over Roger in Australia are both special occasions for me but beating Roger maybe even more. I lost ten times against him and he was one of the guys I have never been able to defeat. This is very special, in a Grand Slam even more but one of my goals for this season has also been to reach a final on the Tour as well as to win a title,” Seppi said and is looking forward to his first final since Moscow 2012, in which he eventually lifted the trophy. The stats are looking good for a repeat of those happenings, as the 30-year-old Italian leads 4-0 in head to head records against García-López.