CHENGDU, September 29, 2018 (Press Release)
Top seeded Italian Fabio Fognini once again displayed excellent from here in the Chengdu Open 2018 as he rallied from a set down to defeat American Taylor Fritz 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-3 in one hour and 49 minutes on Centre Court and move into his fourth final of the season.
The first set was a closely contested affair, with both players saving two break points each to hold serve, but the 20-year-old Fritz notched three mini-breaks to Fognini’s two in the tiebreak before converting his first set point.
Fognini, who had previously not dropped a set the entire tournament, rallied strongly and immediately with a formidable second set performance, taking 25 out of 32 points (78%) to serve Fritz his first bagel since October 2016.
World No.13 Fognini continued to dominate in the third set and even though he had serve broken in the third and seventh games, he converted three break points of his own (out of five) and completed the victory with four points on the trot in his final game on serve.
“I’m happy because I think it was a great game. The first set went to tiebreak but after that I returned really well. It is my first time here in Chengdu and I’m in the final. I could not ask more than that. Of course, it is my best year so far,” said the 31-year-old.
Currently at his career high ranking, Fognini has won in all his three previous final appearances this year at Sao Paolo, Bastad and Los Cabos. His title at Los Cabos, where he defeated Del Potro, represents his first hard court triumph – his seven other career titles have come on clay.
“I won almost all my tournaments on clay but I think this is the fourth final on this surface and I won a title this year beating Del Potro, which is never easy. So I’m confident. I’m happy and I’m healthy – two important things you need to keep in life,” said Fognini, who will bid to become the first Italian to record four titles in one season tomorrow.
Bernie’s back 💥
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 29. September 2018
Tomic beats Sousa
In the day’s second semifinal, Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic swept past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-4 in 75 minutes to make his first ATP World Tour final since Acapulco in 2016.
The 25-year-old former world No.17 hit 12 aces and saved all three break points he faced in the final game of the match to complete his sixth win in eight days and extend his unbeaten run against Sousa to four matches.
“I beat him three times before so that gave me the confidence that I can win again. Throughout his career, he is in the top 30, 40 or 50. It is so difficult to play with this guy. So for me this was a big win, an important win,” said Tomic.
Tomic faces Fognini for the fourth time on tour in Sunday’s final (not before 4.30pm), having previously lost on grass (2012 Eastbourne) and clay (2016 Madrid) but notching his solitary win against the Italian on the hard courts of Madrid in 2016.
“Fabio is playing ridiculously well, he has won a few titles this year. He wants to win another one and make the most of it. For him, I think it is an important match. I have nothing to lose so we will see,” said the Aussie, who is bidding for his fourth career title here in Chengdu.
Doubles final is set
For the first time, the Chengdu Open will feature both the singles and doubles top seeds in the finals. The top ranked Croatian duo of Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic are in their fourth final, having picked up their only title as a pair in their most recent final appearance at Hamburg.
They will face the American-Indian tandem of Austin Krajicek and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who are in their first final as partners at the ATP World Tour level, at 2pm on Centre Court.