Fognini To Face Fritz In Chengdu Semi-finals
Sousa, Tomic contest other semi-final
Top seed Fabio Fognini continued his pursuit of a fourth title of the season on Friday, beating Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-2 at the Chengdu Open. The Italian, who has already lifted trophies in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos this year, converted four of six break points to advance after 66 minutes.
Competing at a career-high No. 13 in the ATP Rankings, Fognini improved to 39-18 this season and is now just three victories away from matching his best calendar year win total, achieved in 2013 (42-27). “I am happy with my performance because I think I played very good in the important points,” Fognini said.
He will face Next Gen ATP Finals contender Taylor Fritz for a place in the championship match. Fritz notched his fifth victory in six matches at the event, beating countryman Sam Querrey 7-6(1), 7-5. Fognini, an eight-time tour-level titlist, and 21-year-old Fritz have never met at tour-level.
“I took my chances when I had the opportunities to break him, which are rare because he serves too well,” Fritz said. “I have been working very hard [this year]. I think it is time for me to make the next step, the next jump up in [the ATP] Rankings.”
Elsewhere, seventh-seeded Portuguese Joao Sousa knocked out Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes for a meeting against Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic, who defeated Canadian lucky loser Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-4 in 68 minutes. “I was feeling the ball really well. I play Sousa now and I’m 3-0 against him but it’s still going to be a difficult match,” Tomic said.
Sousa pushed Tomic to three sets last year in Tokyo. “I think I played a great match today... I was able to stay calm and play good tennis,” Sousa said.
Did You Know?
Fognini will be competing in his seventh tour-level semi-final of the season in Chengdu (3-3). The Italian has won his past two semi-finals, en route to titles in Bastad and Los Cabos.