Hanfmann Saves 4 MP For First Final
Yannick Hanfmann's fairytale week will continue at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad after upsetting 2016 finalist Robin Haase on Saturday. The German qualifier claimed his sixth win in seven days in stunning fashion, saving four match points to reach his first ATP World Tour final.
To say Hanfmann has earned his spot in the Gstaad final is an understatement. The World No. 170, who is appearing in just his third ATP World Tour main draw, claimed his fourth win in a deciding set this week, notably battling past defending champion Feliciano Lopez and rallying from a set down to defeat eighth seed Joao Sousa. On Saturday, he needed two hours and 28 minutes to deny Haase a return trip to the final.
"This means a lot to me," said Hanfmann. "Reaching my first final after saving four match points today is amazing. I really like the conditions here and the altitude suits my game. The ball bounces higher here. Tomorrow I will be the outsider again and I will give everything. I never expected to reach the final at the beginning of the week."
Hanfmann recovered nicely after falling down a set and an immediate break to open the second. He would break right back and later saved a pair of match points in the ensuing tie-break, reeling off four straight points from 6/4 down to force a decider. There, he would turn aside two more match points while serving to stay in the match at 6-5 and proved to be one step ahead in the deciding tie-break.
Hanfmann made his ATP World Tour debut on the clay of Munich in May, reaching the quarter-finals, and advanced to the second round on the grass of Stuttgart last month, before claiming his big breakthrough this week. His run to a first tour-level final comes just two months after reaching his first ATP Challenger Tour title match in Shymkent, Uzbekistan (l. to Berankis). At No. 170 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, he is the lowest-ranked ATP World Tour finalist since No. 249 Matthew Ebden in Newport a week ago.
Awaiting Hanfmann is the final is fourth seed Fabio Fognini, who rallied to defeat second seed Roberto Bautista Agut 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. Fognini improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head over Bautista Agut to 5-2 and has won both of their meetings on clay.
“I'm happy because my first match here was a horrible feeling, but I'm feeling better day by day. My game has improved,” said Fognini. “Tomorrow is going to be a tough match because he's beaten a lot of good players. I saw him play this whole week and told my team that he's going to be dangerous. But I'm going to go for it and try to win the title.”
Fognini has done it the hard way this week, winning all three of his matches in a deciding set. Saturday’s victory puts the Italian into his first ATP World Tour singles final since this past October in Moscow (l. Carreno Busta). He’s looking for his first title since prevailing 12 months ago in Umag (d. Martin).
Eysseric/Skugor Move Into Final
Fourth seeds Jonathan Eysseric and Franko Skugor didn't face a break point in reaching the final over Sander Arends and Robin Haase 6-3, 6-4. Awaiting them in Sunday's championship match are second seeds Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald. Marach reached the Wimbledon doubles final earlier this month with Mate Pavic (l. Kubot/Melo).