Cuevas Will Face Johnson In Nottingham Final
Uruguayan into Nottingham final
The Aegon Open Nottingham has proved to be a revelation for Pablo Cuevas. Before arriving at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament, the Uruguayan had won just two grass-court matches in his career. But on Friday, he booked his spot in his first grass-court final against Steve Johnson with a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over Gilles Muller.
“Yesterday and today, I beat some really good players on this surface,” Cuevas said. “Gilles’ game is perfect for this surface. I’m so happy to win and it fills me with confidence. I’ve done a lot of work on grass. Now I move better and feel much more comfortable. This is my first time playing three or four matches in a week on grass and the feeling is good.
“Coming in, I thought getting one match was already good. But I had no idea I could play for a final. It’s perfect.”
All five of Cuevas' ATP World Tour trophies have come on clay, with titles this year in Sao Paulo (d. Carreno Busta) and Rio de Janeiro (d. Pella). The second-seeded Cuevas will face Johnson in Saturday's final as he bids to capture his third ATP World Tour title of the season.
After saving match point to beat Marcos Baghdatis in Thursday's quarter-finals, Cuevas was in trouble again as he dropped the first set to Muller in the semi-finals. The 30 year old teetered on the brink in the second set as he fended off three break points in the ninth game, but took control of the tie-break to level the match. Cuevas broke the eighth-seeded Muller decisively in the fifth game of the third set before going on to seal victory in just over two hours.
Despite not losing a set on Friday, Johnson also needed to work hard to book a place in the final. He first took to the court to finish his quarter-final match against Kevin Anderson, winning 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 after darkness interrupted the match with Anderson serving at 4-3 in the deciding set on Thursday. Then, he returned to face Andreas Seppi, winning 6-4, 6-4 in a rain-delayed semi-final match. Johnson moved into the final in 78 minutes and did not drop serve on the day.
“I’m very happy to reach my second final and first on grass,” Johnson said. “I liked the way I kept my composure and came back from the darkness delay last night and the rain delay today up a set. You never know how those are going to turn out. Fortunately, I came out with good starts in both and was able to get back into the swing of things.
“Pablo’s played an outstanding tournament so it’s hopefully going to be a great match and I’m going to be a bit more comfortable in my second final than I was in my first.”
Doubles Final Set
The top two teams in the draw will face off for the Aegon Open Nottingham doubles title on Saturday, as top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo rallied to beat Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin 5-7, 6-3, 10-6 in the semi-finals. Dodig/Melo returned well against Marach/Martin, winning 60 per cent of second-serve return points in the 84-minute win.