Basic Stuns Wawrinka To Reach Maiden ATP World Tour Final
Bosnian Mirza Basic had never made a tour-level quarter-final prior to the 2017 VTB Kremlin Cup, where he made the semi-finals.
After a strong week at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open in Bulgaria, the qualifier moved into his second semi-final. But this time, after stunning top seed Stan Wawrinka on Saturday 7-6(6), 6-4, Basic will play in his first ATP World Tour final. He is projected to earn a spot in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time at 26 years old.
"I think I played a very, very good match. I was serving very good, so I think this helped me a lot," Basic said. "It's a big success for me. My first final after I played a semi-final last year. Also it's a big achievement because it will be the first time, after this week, I'm going to be Top 100 [in the ATP Rankings' so it's an even bigger success."
It is also Basic's first victory against a Top 20 player in the ATP Rankings, with his best prior win coming against World No. 35 Philipp Kohlschreiber earlier this week. The Bosnian had never beaten a Top 100 opponent before last season.
Wawrinka, the World No. 15, fell just short of his first tour-level final since 2017 Roland Garros.
It appeared the 16-time tour-level champion turned the tide when he broke and then held for a 4-2 lead in the second set. But Basic stormed back with aggressive play to claim the final four games of the match against the Swiss.
"I'm just looking to be focused for tomorrow, play a good match and give my best to try to win," Basic said.
Basic will play Romania’s Marius Copil, who also reached the first tour-level final of his career by beating qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-4, 6-2.
“I was just thinking to do my best,” said Copil, who fell in the first five ATP World Tour quarter-finals of his career. “I was very focused, I was in the present and this helped me to make the match more clear."
It took Copil six attempts to advance to his ATP World Tour first semi-final, which he did by defeating third seed Gilles Muller on Friday. But it only took the 27-year-old one opportunity to take it a step further, ousting an opponent in Kovalik who was also competing in his first semi-final. The Romanian needed just 76 minutes to move on to his maiden championship match.
“It’s something I was dreaming about since the first day I started playing tennis," Copil said of reaching his maiden final. "Watching the guys play major finals and being with them in the locker room made me want to play finals... I hope that it’s going to go well tomorrow and that it won’t be the last one."
Copil is projected to match his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 74 by virtue of reaching the final, and can soar further if he beats Basic.
The 27-year-old dropped just one of 25 points behind his first serve in his victory. The Romanian constantly threatened his 25-year-old opponent’s serve as well, earning a total of six break points across six of Kovalik’s service games, converting on three of those opportunities.
Kovalik played more aggressively as the match wore on, but Copil clinched his spot in the final with a volley into the open court.
Dutchmen Continue Pursuit Of Second Title In 2018
Fourth seeds Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop defeated Scott Lipsky and Divij Sharan 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the final in Sofia. The pair is attempting to win its second ATP World Tour title of the season after triumphing at the Tata Open Maharashtra (d. Herbert/Simon).
The Dutchmen had not won a match since their title in Pune when they arrived in Bulgaria. They will face the second seeds, Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya, in the championship match on Sunday.
Did You Know?
Basic had never beaten a Top 100 player in the ATP Rankings prior to 2017. The win over Wawrinka is his first against a Top 20 opponent.