© Sergio Llamera/Prensa Argentina Open

Diego Schwartzman delights a vocal Argentina Open crowd by reaching his ATP Tour final on home soil.

Schwartzman Saves M.P. To Defeat Thiem In Buenos Aires

Argentine to meet Cecchinato for the title

Fourth seed Diego Schwartzman proved on Saturday at the Argentina Open that he can never be counted out. Down 1-4 in the deciding set of his semi-final against Dominic Thiem, the Argentine thrilled the home crowd by saving a match point to hand the top seed his first loss in Buenos Aires and prevail 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Playing with the confidence of a man who held an 11-0 record in Buenos Aires, Thiem stepped in the court to control baseline rallies and raced into a 6-2, 4-2 lead. But with the crowd urging him on, Schwartzman’s foot speed extended the points and goaded Thiem into unforced errors. The Argentine went on an impressive four-game run and leveled the match.

The deciding set appeared it might end identically to the second set. Thiem jumped to a 4-2 advantage, but suddenly mistimed several forehands and gave Schwartzman the chance to serve for the match at 5-4. Determined not to let history repeat itself, Thiem earned a break point with a crafty forehand winner and leveled the set when Schwartzman pushed a forehand wide.

Having served for the match, Schwartzman found himself down match point serving to stay in it at 5-6, 30/40. The Argentine erased it with a forehand winner and moved the contest to a final-set tie-break. A forehand error from Them at 5/6 brought Schwartzman to his knees and the crowd to their feet as the fourth seed advanced after two hours and 31 minutes.

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Schwartzman improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Thiem to 2-3 and has won their past two matches. He's through to his first final since lifting the title 12 months ago in Rio de Janeiro (d. Verdasco)

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He'll play third seed Marco Cecchinato for the title. The Italian advanced to his third ATP Tour final by defeating Guido Pella 6-4, 6-2.

The third-seeded Italian, who captured clay-court titles in Budapest and Umag last year, won 71 per cent of service points (37/52) and did not face a break point en route to victory after 69 minutes. Cecchinato improves to 5-4 this season after beating Pella for the second time in as many FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Last week, Pella reached his fourth tour-level championship match at the inaugural Cordoba Open (l. to Londero).

Did You Know?
Cecchinato entered this year's Argentina Open with a 0-3 tournament record.