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Novak Djokovic knows the Roger Cup Centre Court inside and out. On Sunday, the three-time champion returned to those familiar confines, but in a different context.
“It was a unique opportunity to share an experience with [NHL players] in their environment,” said Djokovic, who traded his tennis racquet for a hockey stick in joining the annual exhibition ball hockey game alongside professional hockey players Connor McDavid, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and other NHLers. ATP World Tour players represented at the event were Denis Kudla, John Millman, Andrey Kuznetsov and the young Canadian trio of Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin. “At the same time, it was not an ice rink, so it allowed me and the other tennis players to move around freely. It was the first time that I played hockey, ice rink or not.”
The organisers did not take it easy on the World No. 1, putting him on the spot by making him immediately take a penalty shot, which the goaltender saved. A second attempt beat the netminder, but hit the crossbar and narrowly stayed outside of the goal.
“I enjoyed it, you don’t get these opportunities too often, so I tried to make the best out of it,” said Djokovic, who just missed converting on two other scoring chances during the match, which finished in a tie.
Fabio Fognini defeated Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-1 for the Konzum Croatia Open Umag title, his fourth ATP World Tour crown on Sunday. The Italian improved his final record to 4-7, adding to his trophy cabinet, which includes 2014 Vina del Mar, ’13 Hamburg and ’13 Stuttgart.
The 29-year-old Fognini is the first Italian winner in tournament history (since 1990). He previously reached the final in Umag in 2013 (l. to Robredo). As winner he earned 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €82,450 in prize money.
"I have to be happy," said Fognini. "A title is always a title. It was a great week of tennis."
Martin did well to erase a break point in his first service game to hold for 1-1. Again in the eighth game, Martin faced break points but held his nerve once more to hold for 4-4. Fognini broke Martin for the first set, 6-4, when the Slovakian sent a forehand wide.
With Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović looking on, the second set momentum continued in the direction of the fourth seed as Fognini raced to a 5-0 lead. Martin managed to win one game before the Italian served out the match at love and claimed victory after 68 minutes with an ace.
"Both players had nothing to lose," said Fognini. "For me there was everything to win because I was the favourite. I think I improved my game in the second set."
Slovakian Andrej Martin, who saved five match points to beat compatriot Martin Klizan in the second round, was appearing in his first tour-level final and attempting to become the sixth first-time champion this season. As runner-up he takes home €43,430 and 150 points.
"Right now, it doesn't feel so good, but over time I will appreciate what I did this week,” said Martin. “For me, it's been a great experience."
Fabio Fognini looks to add to his trophy cabinet when he faces Andrej Martin in the final of the Konzum Croatia Open Umag on Sunday. But since hoisting his last ATP World Tour title, in Vina del Mar two years ago, a lot has changed.
Last month, Fabio Fognini wed former WTA player Flavia Pennetta in a lavish ceremony in Ostuni, Italy.
"It was a super happy moment,” he told ATPWorldtour.com in an exclusive interview. “I think Flavia was a little more nervous than me, but I remember we had a really nice day and the party was very good. The memory of that day is precious to us and it's something that I will remember all my life.
"I feel very fortunate to have Flavia by my side. She knows better than anyone all the work that goes with tennis, she understands when you need some time. The truth is that she is a huge help.”
After some time away from action due to injuries, Fognini says "Now I am happy and I'm working well again. Like with everything in life, finding this consistency requires a process and I think it will take a little while. But I feel good on and off the court, so I hope I can finish the season well.
"I have to accept it, know that this is a difficult year. I have to keep fighting and battling and we'll see where it gets me by the end of the year.”
Now a refocused and healthy Fognini plays in his 11th tour-level final, bidding for his fourth crown (2013 Stuttgart, ‘13 Hamburg, ’14 Vina del Mar).
"Since my wedding I've had a little more stability. I wanted to disconnect and get back to training hard. It always pays off… I know that hard work will deliver."
The Aviva Centre at York University is the site of the sixth ATP Masters 1000 level tournament of the season, the Rogers Cup. This year’s field features eight of the Top 12 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings, led by World No. 1 and three-time champion Novak Djokovic, who is playing the tournament for the 10th consecutive year. Other Top 8 seeds are: No. 2 Stan Wawrinka, No. 3 Kei Nishikori, No. 4 Milos Raonic, No. 5 Tomas Berdych, No. 6 Dominic Thiem, No. 7 David Goffin and No. 8 Marin Cilic.
2016 ATP Masters 1000 Finals: Djokovic has compiled a 21-2 match record while winning three of the first five ATP Masters 1000 tournaments this season:
75 57 60
62 36 63
ATP Masters 1000 Title Leaders: Djokovic is the all-time leader with 29 ATP Masters 1000 titles, winning at least three every year since 2011:
Novak Top Seed Again: World No. 1 and three-time Rogers Cup champion Novak Djokovic is the top seed for the sixth straight year in Canada. Djokovic has a 30-6 career record in Canada, winning in Montreal twice (2007, ’11) and Toronto in 2012. He also was runner-up in Montreal last year (l. to Murray). He has a 19-3 match record in Montreal and 11-3 in Toronto. In the last five years Djokovic has won 18 of 21 Rogers Cup matches, with his losses in the 2013 semi-finals (l. to Nadal in a third-set TB), 2014 third round (l. to eventual champ Tsonga) and final last year (l. to Murray). Overall, Djokovic has advanced to the quarter-finals or better eight of nine years in Canada. Djokovic has held No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the past 108 weeks since July 7, 2014 and this will be the 209th week (as of July 25) he’s ranked No. 1 in his career, the fifth-most in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
2016 Update: Djokovic comes into Toronto with a 46-4 match record, including a sparkling 28-1 on hard courts. His only loss came to Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals in Dubai where he retired due to an eye infection. Djokovic leads the ATP World Tour with six titles, including his record-tying sixth Australian Open crown and first at Roland Garros. The 29-year-old Serb became the eighth man to win a career Grand Slam as he lifted the Roland Garros trophy for the first time in his 12th attempt. He also became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles. His 30-match Grand Slam winning streak ended with his third-round loss to Querrey at Wimbledon on July 2.
Weeks at No. 1: Djokovic is fourth on the consecutive weeks at No. 1 list and fifth in overall weeks at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
#NextGen Stars: There are five #NextGen stars (21 & under in Top 100) in the Rogers Cup main draw, not including possible qualifiers (listed by age):
Taylor Fritz, USA
18 Years, 8 Months
Alexander Zverev, GER
19 Years, 3 Months
Borna Coric, CRO
19 Years, 8 Months
Nick Kyrgios, AUS
21 Years, 2 Months
Kyle Edmund, GBR
21 Years 6 Months
2016 Highlights: Four of the five players (except Edmund) have reached finals on the ATP World Tour, including Kyrgios, who won his maiden title in Marseille. Here is a look at each player:
2016 Best Result
Best Emirates ATP Ranking
No. 63 (June 13)
Runner-up: Nice, Halle
No. 27 (July 11)
Runner-up: Chennai, Marrakech
No. 33 (July 27, 2015)
No. 18 (June 20)
QF: Doha, Queen’s Club
No. 67 (July 11)
Zverev on a Roll: Zverev, who is the youngest player in the Top 50 Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 27, is appearing in his fifth ATP World Tour semi-final of the season on Saturday night in Washington (vs. Monfils). He has compiled a 32-17 match record, surpassing last year’s wins total (14). The 19-year-old German is making his Rogers Cup main draw debut and he opens against Yen-Hsun Lu. If Zverev advances to the second round, he will meet Raonic.
Milos on the Move: Top Canadian and No. 4 seed Milos Raonic is playing in his first tournament since becoming the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final at Wimbledon on July 10. Raonic enters with a 37-9 match record on the season (17-3 on hard) and this is his seventh Rogers Cup main draw appearance (8-6). He reached the final in 2013 (l. to Nadal) and the quarter-finals in 2012 (l. to Isner) and 2014 (l. to Lopez). Last year he lost in his opening match after a first-round bye to Karlovic in two tie-breaks. In the opening week of the season, Raonic captured his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Brisbane (d. Federer) and followed with a semi-final at the Australian Open (l. to Murray in five sets). In addition to Wimbledon, he also was runner-up at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic) and Queen’s Club.
Canadian Wild Cards: Raonic and No. 2 Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who reached the semi-finals in 2013 (l. to Raonic), are joined by four other countrymen, who received wild cards in the main draw: No. 190 Stephen Diez, No. 232 Frank Dancevic, No. 239 Peter Polansky and No. 371 Denis Shapovalov.
New Top 10 Face: No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem, who at 22 is the youngest player in the Top 10 Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 9, is the newest addition to the elite group. Thiem broke into the Top 10 on June 6 at No. 7 (from 15) after his semi-final at Roland Garros. He enters the Rogers Cup with four ATP World Tour titles and a 48-14 match record on the season (16-5 on hard). He leads the ATP World Tour in overall match wins and clay match wins (25) and is second in titles. He is the only player to win titles on three different surfaces (clay, grass, hard). He is looking for his first Rogers Cup win, having lost in the first round the past two years.
Goffin Eyes Top 10: No. 7 seed David Goffin is a career-high No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, highlighted by back-to-back semi-final results at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Raonic) and Miami (l. to Djokovic). He also has advanced to five other quarter-finals, including Roland Garros (l. to Thiem) and ATP Masters 1000 Rome (l. to Murray). The 25-year-old Belgian is playing in his first tournament since a fourth-round showing at Wimbledon (l. to Raonic in five sets).
Nestor Ageless Wonder: Veteran doubles specialist Daniel Nestor is making his record 28th straight tournament appearance. The 43-year-old Canadian will be teaming up with countryman Vasek Pospisil. They have an 8-6 career record together (5-3 in Davis Cup) and this is their first tournament pairing since 2013 Basel. They last teamed up in last year’s first-round Davis Cup tie vs. Japan (won in five sets). Nestor has a 43-25 tournament record, winning both titles in Toronto, in 2000 (w/Lareau) and ’08 (w/Zimonjic). He was runner-up in 1996 and 2002 (w/Knowles) and last year (w/Roger-Vasselin). Last month Nestor improved his title streak to 23 consecutive years by capturing the title in Nottingham (w/Inglot).
Outstanding Doubles Field: Top seeds and five-time champions (2002, ’06, ’10, ’12, ‘15) Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan are making their 16th straight Rogers Cup appearance. Four of their titles have come in Toronto. They also were finalists in 2008 and 2011.
In Case You Missed It
Vote for the best Golden Moment from Toronto. Watch & Vote
+19 Robin Haase (76)
+12 Dusan Lajovic (71)
+8 Ivo Karlovic (27)
+6 Fabio Fognini (33)
+4 Taylor Fritz (63)
Toronto – Singles
Milos Raonic – 244
Viktor Troicki – 244
Yen-Hsun Lu – 147
Jack Sock – 98
Toronto – Doubles
John Peers – 148
Tomas Berdych - 99
24 July - Lukas Rosol (31)
25 July - John Peers (28)
30 July - Chris Guccione (31)
31 July - Marc Lopez (34)
Not even Max Purcell expected to prevail this week at the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Gimcheon, Korea.
Competing in only his 11th professional tournament and third ATP Challenger Tour main draw, the Australian teenager came through qualifying and won his first pro title by defeating sixth seed and fellow Aussie Andrew Whittington, 3-6, 7-6(6), 5-1, retired. At No. 762 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Purcell is the second lowest-ranked winner on the ATP Challenger Tour since 2000 and the first player born in 1998 to win a Challenger. He also joins Blake Mott as the second Australian teenage titlist this year. Fittingly, he overtook Mott (Launceston, No. 721) to become the lowest-ranked Challenger winner this year.
Purcell's run in Gimcheon is even more impressive considering that the 18 year old from Sydney had only won two main draw matches at Challenger level prior to this week.
“I’m a little surprised,” he admitted. “I wasn’t expecting this coming in, but I’ve played much better than in the Futures events before this.”
Purcell completed his third week in Gimcheon, having played two Futures events leading up to his run this week. Although it’s his first trip to Gimcheon and first time time competing in pro tournaments in Korea, he quickly adapted to the surroundings.
“It’s great here in Gimcheon,” said Purcell. “The facilities and service are all well managed and it’s far better than at other tournaments I’ve played.”
Purcell will soar into the Top 400 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. Although he said that schoolwork will limit him to less than a handful of tournaments for the rest of the year, he plans on putting in plenty of work on the practice court in hope of a big 2017.
“I’m just trying to get better little by little each day,” said Purcell. “I’m trying to be more professional in taking care of my body and stretching before matches, and then also playing with more confidence on the court.”
Watch highlights of the 2016 J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad final, featuring Feliciano Lopez and Robin Haase.
Tomas Berdych has set himself a target in Toronto, to keep pace with his other Masters 1000 results.
Watch highlights of the 2016 Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, featuring Paolo Lorenzi and Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Feliciano Lopez finally landed the J. Safara Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad title on Sunday, 10 years on from a runner-up finish to Richard Gasquet. The top seed, making his 10th appearance at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, defeated 2013 finalist Robin Haase 6-4, 7-5 in the final, which lasted 77 minutes.
"It's an amazing feeling, I've been waiting 10 years to win this title," said Lopez. "It's been a long wait since 2006, but it's been worth it. This is a very special tournament, with a lot of tradition, where a lot of Spaniards have won in the past. It's a unique place to play."
Lopez captured his fifth ATP World Tour title in his 14th final. The 34-year-old Spaniard, who is currently No. 21 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, earned 250 points and €82,450 in prize money. It is his first trophy since June 2014 at Eastbourne.
Lopez broke Haase to love in the fifth game and came within a point of taking a 5-2 lead in the 33-minute opener. Haase, a winner of three of their four previous meetings, regrouped and surged into a 3-0 advantage in the second set. But Lopez worked his way back to 3-3 and at 5-5, took Haase's serve to 30 on his third break point opportunity.
"The first set was good, I played very aggressively and I served well," said Lopez, who hit eight aces and lost just four of his first service points. "But it wasn't easy. In the second set, I made two stupid mistakes to get broken but I was able to break back. I played great overall, it was a very good performance."
Haase, 29, is now 2-3 in ATP World Tour finals. Three years ago, he lost to Mikhail Youzhny in the Gstaad title match. The World No. 95 takes home €43,430 and 150 points.
"Three years ago, I received a goat [named Antonia] for reaching the final," said Haase. "So this year, I was dreaming about winning a cow and the trophy. Hopefully I can come back next year and do better. Congrats to Feli, who played great his week."
"We’re really happy and enjoyed this tournament a lot," said Peralta. "It’s pleasing to finish the week this way. I feel really good playing with Horacio and we’re motivated to keep playing together."
Zeballos said, "We’ve beaten the best team of the tournament. This gives us tonnes of confidence to play together in the future. In my opinion, we kept our focus from the first ball, trying to dominate the match. That was a key."
South Americans Peralta and Zeballos, who also lifted the Brasil Open trophy (d. Carreno Busta/Marrero) in February, earned 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and shared €25,070 in prize money. Zeballos is 3-3 in doubles finals.
Peralta and Zeballos were unable to convert one set point opportunity on a deciding deuce point in the 10th game, then saved four break points at 5-5. The duo won five of the first six points in the tie-break. They broke serve in the first and fifth games of the second set.
Pavic and Venus are now 25-10 on the season and 5-4 lifetime in finals. They are second on the ATP World Tour this year, behind Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The pair leave the ATP World Tour 250 tournament with 150 points and €13,170.
Catch up with Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime, two young Canadians making waves with their attacking games.
Ivo Karlovic and Gael Monfils won on Saturday to move into the Citi Open final. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo credit Getty Images.
Ivo Karlovic talks about his big semi-final win against Steve Johnson at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Gael Monfils talks about reaching another Citi Open final in Washington, D.C. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
The always entertaining Gael Monfils was at it again on Saturday against Sascha Zverev at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Ivo Karlovic remained perfect on his serve in Washington and will play for his first ATP World Tour 500 title on Sunday. The 37 year old blasted 14 more aces and erased all five break points to beat American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
Karlovic now leads the tournament with 80 aces and has held all 43 service games. The 6'11” Croatian will face Frenchman Gael Monfils, who dismissed NextGen star Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-0 in one hour. Monfils controlled the match from the start, breaking the 19 year old to open the semi-final contest, the first of four service breaks the second seed would secure.
Monfils also landed nearly 70 per cent of his first serves, compared to 44 per cent for Zverev, who is the youngest player in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. In the second set, Monfils dropped only three points (12/15) on his serve.
“He’s probably the quickest player on [the ATP World Tour],” Zverev said.
The 29-year-old will go for his first Citi Open title and his first ATP World Tour title since Montpellier in 2014. He also played for the Washington title in 2011 (l. to Stepanek). Monfils is 5-19 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals. Sunday's match-up will mark his third final of the season (Rotterdam, Monte-Carlo). Monfils said he's matured in recent years, which has helped his tennis.
“Definitely, the aging helped me a little bit,” he said. “I’m still the young guy that plays Pokémon but I think I still grew up.”
He is 2-2 against Karlovic in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “I cannot let [him] dictate my game,” Karlovic said. “I’m going to continue doing what I did in this match, try and get as close to the net as I can, as quick as I can.”
It will be Karlovic's first final at the Citi Open. He reached the semi-finals in 2007 but lost to Andy Roddick. Clutch serving and opportunistic returning ensured that Karlovic wouldn't fall to another American on Saturday.
At 1-all, he saw a break point and converted. It was the only chance to break he'd have all set long as Johnson otherwise kept up his consistent serving. Up to that game, the 26-year-old American was 33/33 on his serve.
“I just tried to be as aggressive as I could,” Karlovic said of his return games.
The second set mirrored the first when, at 1-all, Karlovic sliced a backhand service return past a charging Johnson to earn another break. He'd serve out the set with his 14th ace.
“It’s definitely frustrating when you have chances and you don’t take them,” Johnson said. “You lose your focus for a second and you lose serve and that’s the margin when you play against a guy like Ivo.”
Karlovic will try to win his eighth ATP World Tour title on Sunday. He's played in 15 finals, including the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships final in Newport on 17 July (d. Muller).
On Friday, Karlovic said that winning an ATP World Tour 500 event was one of his goals for the next few years. He'll have a chance to cross it off his list on Sunday in Washington.
“In my old age it is good when you can reach your goals still,” he said. “That would be unbelievable if I am able to do it tomorrow.”
Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Alexander Peya of Austria moved into the final with a 4-6, 7-6(4), 10-3 win against Henri Kontinen of Finland and Aussie John Peers. Kubot/Peya will face Canadian Daniel Nestor and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who beat Romanians Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau 6-3, 6-4.
From Andre Agassi’s triumph in 1992 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s magical run in 2014, we’ve selected eight Classic Moments from the Rogers Cup. Now, we need your help to crown the Golden Moment from this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
Watch the clips and vote for your favourite of each match-up. Round 1, which runs from now until 8pm ET Wednesday, July 27, features four head-to-head battles:
Agassi Stops Lendl (1992) vs Federer Outduels Berdych (2010)
Ensure your favourites advance to the semi-finals. Watch & Vote Now!
The attention on Djokovic has become customary this season. The Serbian has won three of the five Masters 1000 tournaments and suffered only three losses in seven months. But his appearance in Toronto will bring some new intrigue: Namely, how will Djokovic respond to his third-round loss at Wimbledon, his first setback at a Grand Slam championship since the 2015 Roland Garros?
The top seed's journey to a fourth Rogers Cup title starts with a bye and a second-round match-up with either Russian veteran Dmitry Tursunov or Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who reached two grass-court finals earlier this season ('s-Hertogenbosch, Newport). Djokovic is 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Muller, with both wins coming last season (Australian Open, Roland Garros).
In the third round, Djokovic could face 14th seed Benoit Paire for the second time. Djokovic beat Paire last season in Cincinnati. Ninth seed John Isner or fifth seed Tomas Berdych could await the Serbian in the quarter-finals. Neither player has beaten Djokovic in the past three seasons.
Fourth seed Milos Raonic, fresh off his first Grand Slam championship final at Wimbledon, could face Djokovic in the semi-finals. The home favourite Canadian might have to face #NextGen star Alexander Zverev in the second round, though. The 19-year-old Zverev, the youngest player in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, reached his fifth semi-final of the season in Washington and will be making his Rogers Cup main draw debut when he plays Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei in the first round.
If the seeds play out, 15th seed Steve Johnson, who reached the semi-finals in Washington, would meet Raonic in the third round, and 10th seed Gael Monfils or seventh seed David Goffin would face the big-serving right-hander in the last eight. Monfils' best Rogers Cup showing was a quarter-final run in 2011 (l. to Djokovic). Goffin, playing at the Rogers Cup for only the third time, reached the third round last season (l. to Nishikori).
At the bottom half of the draw, Stan Wawrinka will look to win his second Masters 1000 tournament (Monte-Carlo, 2014) and surpass his previous best showing at the Canadian Masters 1000 event (QF, 2011). The earliest Wawrinka could face a seeded player is the third round when 16th seed Jack Sock could await. From there, the Swiss could play sixth seed Dominic Thiem or 12th seed Bernard Tomic. The 31-year-old right-hander could meet third seed Kei Nishikori or eighth seed Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.
Martin Klizan and David Marrero won their second Konzum Croatia Open Umag title on Saturday, needing only 59 minutes to defeat Croatians Nikola Mektic and Antonio Sancic 6-4, 6-2. The Slovakian/Spaniard duo erased two break points and pounced on the Croatians' second serves, winning 16/21 help them earn three breaks.
“We would like to thank everybody, it’s been a great week. It’s one of the best tournaments in the world,” Marrero said. “Congratulations to Mektic and Sancic, who also had a great week. We’re really happy with the way we played.”
Klizan and Marrero won their second ATP World Tour title as a team (Umag 2013). Klizan also remained perfect in ATP World Tour finals: 4-0 in doubles finals and 5-0 in singles. Marrero improved to 13-14 in finals and won a title for the second consecutive week. He and countryman Marcel Granollers won the Bastad doubles title on 17 July. Klizan/Marrero will receive 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €25,070.
Mektic/Sancic were making their ATP World Tour doubles final debut. They had been 1-5 in ATP Challenger Tour finals. They'll receive 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €13,170.
“It's a very bitter taste to lose a final but it's a great feeling. It was a great feeling to play the tournament, to the make the final in the tournament, to feel such a big support from the crowd. It was amazing,” Mektic said.
"It’s a long time since my last final here," said Lopez. "I have great memories and it’s definitely a great feeling to be in the final here because it means I can still be competitive after 10 years."
Lopez plays Robin Haase for the championship at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament. The Dutch player defeated 2007 champion and eighth seed Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second semi-final, 7-6(4), 7-6(2). He's into his first ATP World Tour final since Vienna in October 2013 and now seeks his first ATP World Tour title since winning back-to-back tournaments in Kitzbuhel in 2011 and 2012.
Haase leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1, including a 2013 semi-final win in Gstaad. “I'm very happy,” he said. “My goal is to win [tomorrow]. I've played him here before, I won and I hope I can take that as an advantage into tomorrow.”
The 34-year-old Spaniard needed one hour and 30 minutes to defeat Brown in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Brown, 31, was playing in his second ATP World Tour semi-final (Montpellier 2016, l. to Gasquet), and had beaten two former Swiss Open champions in his last two matches: two-time titlist Thomaz Bellucci (second round) and 2013 champ Mikhail Youzhny (quarter-finals).
“Dustin is a difficult player to play. He plays tricky shots, serves very good and has very good hands when he comes to the net. It was a tough match for me to play, but I think overall I had a great performance,” said Lopez. “I’ve played against [Robin] many times, so it’s going to be very tough.”
Haase saved four break points in his opening service game, but he and Mathieu traded routine service holds throughout the rest of the opening set to force a tie-break. The tie-break was even at 3/3 when a rain delay forced both players off the court. When they returned, Haase raced to a 6/3 lead and converted on his third set point.
The Dutchman earned the first break of the match by breaking Mathieu to love and grabbing a 2-0 lead, but the Frenchman fought back by breaking his opponent in the next game. They each held serve all the way to the tie-break, where Haase went on a four-point run to take a 5/2 lead and closed out the semi-final on his second match point.
Fourth Seeds Book Final Berth
Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos, fourth seeds in Gstaad, edged the unseeded Dutch-Austrian pairing of Sander Arends and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn 6-1, 3-6, 11-9 in the semi-finals. The Chilean-Argentine duo will face top seeds Mate Pavic of Croatia and Michael Venus of New Zealand in Sunday's final.