CHENGDU, September 28, 2019 (Press Release)
Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta sustained his late season resurgence here on the Chengdu Open hard courts as he disposed of the Canadian number eight seed Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 in just 64 minutes to book his first final appearance since picking up his sixth career title at Estoril in 2017.
There was some measure of revenge for the 28-year-old Gijon native, who had lost to his 20-year-old NextGen opponent at the Rome Masters earlier this year. Carreno Busta faced two early break points in the very first game of the match, but after crucially saving them to hold serve, the six-foot-two former world No.10 did not face any more challenges on his serve and converted both chances he created – once in the first set to take a 4-2 lead and another in the second set to go 4-3 up.
With his win today, Carreno Busta makes his first final in three attempts this year and snaps a six-match losing streak in semifinal appearances since Estoril.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) September 28, 2019
“It was a really good match and I played very good on serve. Probably in the first game of the match when I saved two break points, probably was the key because I need to hold my serve to put pressure on his serve. He served very well for a lot of the match, but the two games that I had a break point, I did it. It is very special, this win for me. I got my revenge for Rome and I’m happy to be in the final. I had two semifinal losses this year at Antalya and Hamburg. Well, finally I can win a semifinal and I’m excited to play my first final of the year tomorrow,” said the Spaniard.
Carreno Busta will face Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik for the second time on tour tomorrow, having defeated a 19-year-old Bublik in Moscow in 2016, and remains wary of his in-form opponent.
“Alex is a tough player and his serves are really good. He also plays a lot of shots down the line with his backhand and forehand. I need to be very focused, try to win my serve and wait for the right moment and try to take advantage of my opportunities,” said the current world No. 63.
Earlier in the day, Bublik continued his fine run of form at the Chengdu Open with a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory in one hour and 27 minutes over South African lucky loser Lloyd Harris to make his second ATP Tour final of the year.
The lanky 22-year-old, who was a losing finalist at Newport, served up 21 aces and only dropped one game during the match, when he allowed Harris back into the first set at 5-4 up on serve. However, the world No.71 kept his focus in the tie-break to ensure he won the set anyway.
After both players comfortably held serve in the first nine games of the second set, the world No.111 Harris buckled at 4-5 down on serve and allowed his opponent to take a 0-40 lead in the game. The 22-year-old, playing in his first career semifinal, showed some mettle to save three match points and draw level at 40-40, but a wide unforced error gave Bublik the advantage and further aggressive play from the Kazakh in the final point secured him a deserved victory.
“Yeah I played a great match. Playing against a fellow young player – it’s good for the sport to have so many young players coming up – like me and Lloyd and everyone else. He’s a great server, he’s a great player but I guess today I was a better returner. After the crowd settled down, they were great and supported me well. I’m very happy to get through and looking forward to the finals. It’s going to be a great match and a very tough match, whether it’s against Pablo or Denis,” said Bublik, who looks set to eclipse his career high of No.69, which he achieved earlier this month, in next week’s rankings.
In today’s doubles semifinal match, Serbian tandem Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic defeated the American first time pairing of Taylor Fritz and Nicholas Monroe 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes to mark their Chengdu debut with an appearance in the final.
The duo, who are best friends off the court, saved an impressive eight out of the nine break points they faced while clinically converting three of the four opportunities they had to complete the straight sets win.
“It’s great because we’re best friends off court and played tennis together since were 10 years old. It’s an amazing feeling to be playing with somebody you’ve known all your life and to be in the finals. I’m really happy that we’ve played so good all week,” said 29-year-old Lajovic.
Tomorrow will be Lajovic’s third career final and first since picking up his sole doubles title at Istanbul in 2015 (w/ Radu Albot) and Cacic’s maiden appearance in a doubles final.
“This is our first finals together and my first career final. It’s with my best friend so it’s very emotional for me as well. He’s helping as much as we can and we managed to play good all week so I hope we can continue tomorrow and give our best. Already we did a good job, so we’ll see tomorrow,” said 28-year-old Cacic.
The Serbian pair will face the Israeli-French partnership of Jonathan Erlich and Fabrice Martin tomorrow, which marks the former world No.5 Erlich’s second doubles finals appearance in three years at the Chengdu Open, having lifted the trophy with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in 2017.
“It’s exciting for me. First of all, it’s a privilege to be here with such a good friend of mine, Fabrice, who has had a great year and was willing to come with me this week. We’ve had fun and had some great matches. Obviously, I have good memories from two years ago, winning the title, and I came here to win it again,” said Erlich.
Meanwhile, Martin has had an amazing year in which he picked up two titles at Estoril and Marseille and made the Roland Garros final, all of them with Jeremy Chardy.
“It’s my second time here and like he said, we’re good friends. To learn from a legend like Johnny is amazing for me and for my future. I take all the advice I can from him and hopefully tomorrow we’ll get the job done,” said the Frenchman.
Ticket sales for the Chengdu Open finals are available onsite at the stadium entrance