Dolgopolov Sets Nishikori Final Clash In Buenos Aires
Dolgopolov has not relinquished a set in advancing to his seventh ATP World Tour final and first on the clay of Buenos Aires. He will contest his first title match in three years, since falling to Rafael Nadal in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, against top seed Kei Nishikori.
"I feel very good," said Dolgopolov. "It's really nice to be in a final again because because I had a couple tough years."
The 28 year old needed just 69 minutes to dispatch fourth seed Carreno Busta on a sunny afternoon on Court Guillermo Vilas. Dolgopolov settled down after being broken to love to open the match, breaking back immediately and turning aside the Spaniard's four other chances in the encounter. His successful week comes at an opportune time, having dropped 10 of 11 matches entering Buenos Aires. The World No. 66 will look to complete his resurgent run against either Nishikori in Sunday's final.
Defeat for Carreno Busta, meanwhile, ends an eight-year run of Spaniards reaching the Buenos Aires final. The 25 year old was bidding to join Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo in that span.
Nishikori will square off against Dolgopolov for the sixth time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, having won all 10 sets played. The top seed overcame a stern test from home hope Carlos Berlocq 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to reach his 22nd tour-level final and first on South American soil.
World No. 5 Nishikori extended his impressive career mark in deciding sets to 103-31 (.765 in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone), rallying from a set down for the second time this week. He found himself in trouble early, as Berlocq captured the opener with a lunging half-volley from just inside the service line. The Argentine was two points from serving for the match at 4-4 0/30 in the second set, but Nishikori would not be denied. A leaping backhand down the line sent the match to a third set and he would eventually secure the win after two hours and 43 minutes.
The Japanese star continues to rule the mid-February slate on the ATP World Tour, entering the final at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club after four straight titles at the concurrent Memphis Open from 2013-16. He is the first Asian-born player to reach the Argentina Open final.
Reigning Doubles Champs Survive
Defending champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah were made to work to book a return trip to the Buenos Aires final. The Colombian power stepped up with their backs against the wall, rallying past Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 4-6, 7-6(0), 10-3 in Saturday's semis.
Bolelli and Fognini held a match point while serving for a spot in the final at 6-4, 6-5, but Cabal and Farah reeled off eight straight points to force a Match Tie-break and eventually advanced after one hour and 50 minutes. The top seeds will appear in their 18th ATP World Tour final together, facing Santiago Gonzalez and David Marrero on Sunday.