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Grigor Dimtrov advances to his first final at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.

Dimitrov To Face Schwartzman For Istanbul Crown

Bulgarian seeks fifth ATP World Tour title

Grigor Dimitrov and Diego Schwartzman will square off for the first time on Sunday, with the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open title on the line.

In his second straight semi-final appearance in Istanbul, second seed Dimitrov advanced one step further, downing Karlovic 7-6(0), 7-6(2) in one hour and 41 minutes. The Bulgarian reached his eighth ATP World Tour final and will vie for his fifth title and first since prevailing on the grass of London/Queen's Club in 2014.

"The result speaks for itself against a tricky opponent," said Dimitrov. "I was patient and took my chances. I think I did well today. In the tie-breaks it was important to be focused and composed and put the ball in play. Today, I made good returns when I had to and once you have a mini-break things are just brighter."

Dimitrov had the upper hand from the start in both tie-breaks, maintaining an ultra-aggressive stance against Karlovic's mammoth serve. A double fault would give Dimitrov the opening tie-break 7-0 and he would not disappoint in the second, rifling a return winner down the line to seal the victory.

Dimitrov was unflappable on serve, firing 10 aces and winning 90 per cent (46/51) of first serve points. He saved the lone break point of the match, in the fifth game of the first set.

In the second semi-final, Schwartzman battled deep into the night to down countryman Federico Delbonis under the lights at the Garanti Koza Arena. He triumphed over the fourth seed 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 after two hours and 16 minutes.

"It's been a great week for me," said Schwartzman, who stunned top seed Bernard Tomic in the second round and saved one match point in beating Damir Dzumhur on Friday. "It's a dream week. I tried to be focused from the baseline and play more aggressive today. When I broke his serve in the second set, that was the key for the match.

"Tomorrow it's going to be a tough match. Grigor is an amazing player. I need to recover fast now."

Schwartzman rebounded nicely after being broken while serving for the first set at 5-4. He would relinquish the opener in a tie-break, but kept his focus, dropping just five games the rest of match. A drop volley winner would secure the decisive break for 3-1 in the third set and a forehand long from Delbonis clinched the victory on his first match point.

It was the 23-year-old's first win in three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. He will look to pull double duty on Sunday, seeking his maiden ATP World Tour singles final against Dimitrov, while battling for the doubles crown alongside countryman Andres Molteni.

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