Tsitsipas Recovers, Isner Continues London Push
Stefanos Tsitsipas kept alive his chances of reaching a third ATP World Tour final of the year on Friday by beating the experienced German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6(4) in one hour and 36 minutes at the Intrum Stockholm Open.
Tsitsipas, a runner-up at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and the Rogers Cup (l. to Nadal both times), fought back from 1-4 down in the second set and saved two set points at 2-5, 15/40. The #NextGenATP Greek has already clinched his place at next month’s Next Gen ATP Finals. Buy Your Milan Tickets
“I showed character and a bit more passion for every shot that I played,” said Tsitsipas. “When I was a break down I concentrated hard. I played rallies and waited for an opportunity and put pressure on him to finish the points. In general, I was calm and I served pretty well today – much better than my first-round match. I’d like to push more and get more [ATP Rankings] points in the next few weeks."
He’ll now play second seed Fabio Fognini for the first time. Fognini, who is currently No. 12 in the ATP Race To London, for one of the three remaining spots at the eight-man Nitto ATP Finals, was leading 7-5, 2-1 after 54 minutes of play when sixth-seeded South Korean Hyeon Chung retired due to a right foot injury. Fognini has won a career-best three titles this season, and is trying to become the first Italian on record to win four tour-level crowns in one year.
The top seed, competing in his first tournament as a father, has won both of his matches in third-set tie-breaks. In fact, all six of the sets he has played have gone to tie-breaks. Isner moves into ninth place in the ATP Race To London with 3,020 points thanks to his victory against Sandgren, putting him 515 points behind No. 8 Dominic Thiem. The 33-year-old is trying to qualify for the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, for the first time.
It has been perhaps the strongest season of Isner's career, as the American captured his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Isner also climbed as high as No. 8 in the ATP Rankings, after advancing to the Wimbledon semi-finals, his first trip to the last four of a Grand Slam.
Isner will look to keep it up against qualifier and World No. 145 Ernests Gulbis, who defeated 2017 Paris titlist Jack Sock 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first tour-level semi-final since Vienna in October 2015. Gulbis is the first qualifier to advance to the last four in Stockholm since Matthias Bachinger did it in 2014 before losing to Tomas Berdych.
British Pair Reach Doubles Final
Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara, who captured their first ATP World Tour title at the Nature Valley International in June (d. Skupskis), knocked out Simone Bolelli and Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-4 in 67 minutes for a place in the doubles final.
Elsewhere, third seeds Marcus Daniell and Wesley Koolhof booked a place in the semi-finals by converting their fourth match point opportunity in a 6-7(3), 6-2, 11-9 victory over Matthew Ebden and Robert Lindstedt in one hour and 39 minutes. They will now play French team Julien Benneteau and Lucas Pouille on Saturday.