Humbert Saves 4 M.P. In Antwerp Comeback For Final Spot
Frenchman wins one of the longest matches of the season
Humbert, who saw a 3-0 lead evaporate in the second set, was forced to recover from 3/6 and 6/7 down in the tie-break by producing superb firepower en route to a 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 victory over Evans in three hours and 14 minutes.
“The start of the match wasn’t easy as he didn’t give me much pace and suddenly he accelerated,” said Humbert. “I need to find a solution and came to the net more. I was four match points down, but I was mentally strong and I took my opportunities. I remained aggressive and when I won the second set, I knew I’d regained the momentum. I’m very pleased to have reached the second ATP Tour final of my career.”
Humbert, who captured his first ATP Tour title at the ASB Classic (d. Paire) in January, will now prepare to face eighth-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur, who beat fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in three sets later in the day. Humbert has never met De Minaur.
After three straight service breaks, Evans wrestled away control in the first set, which ended after 63 minutes when Humbert hit a backhand into the net. Once Evans bounced back from 0-3 down in the second set, the 30-year-old played with great poise and looked on course for his 18th victory of the season.
But Humbert stepped up his forehand aggression to save four match points in the tie-break, and at 7/7 ripped a forehand winner down the line that took the wind out of Evans’ sails. Humbert broke in the first game of the decider and held on, in spite of mounting pressure — particularly at 5-4, for his 20th match win of 2020. Humbert converted his third match point with an aggressive forehand that Evans could not return cleanly.
Evans, who is now 16-12 on the season, had been attempting to advance to his third ATP Tour final (0-2) and his first since the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com (l. to Albot). The 30-year-old Briton saved one match point against Karen Khachanov on Friday in the Antwerp quarter-finals.