Tiafoe rallies for decisive victory in Estoril ATP Tour

Frances Tiafoe prepared a dramatic return to the final set to stun the Spaniard in form Alejandro Davidovic Fokina for placement in the semifinals Millennium Estoril Open Friday.

The American’s fifth seed finished the unfinished business from the second set, when he rose from 2-5 to 5-all, only to recently see Monte-Carlo finalist win the set. In the verdict, the world number 29 also found himself in the hole at 2-5, but after retaliating once again at 5-all, this time he came away with a 7-6 (5) victory. 5-7, 7-5 in two hours, 59 minutes after playing the last five games of the game.

“Be stronger than your biggest apology,” Tiafoe wrote on TV after returning.

Estoril’s two-time semifinalist, Davidovich Fokina took advantage of just four of 17 chances to break during the match, while Tiafoe passed four of eight. The 24-year-old Tiafoe achieved his only final on the ground in 2018 in Estoril (from l. To Sousse).

In Saturday’s semifinals, Tiafoe will play against the American Sebastian Kordawho enjoyed a 6-2, 6-2 defeat over the Canadian main holder Felix Auger-Aliassimewho has won just four of his last 10 matches.

Korda, who avenged the defeat of Acapulco in 2021 to the current 10th tennis player in the world, was dominant on the return, winning the commanding 50 percent return of the first serve and 55 percent return of the second serve. World number 37 Korda improved to 13-7 annually and 3-5 in life against the Top 10 opponents. On Saturday, he will seek his first victory in three meetings with Tiafoe.

Defender of the title Albert Ramos-Vinolas is two wins since retaining his crown after winning the Spanish left-wing fight against Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 for a place in the last four on the ground ATP 250. Ramos-Vinolas now leads the pair ATP Head2Head Series 6-5 and won eight consecutive sets in his rivalry.

“I think it’s always hard to play against a player you know a lot. We’ve played a lot of times and it’s been a tough game,” Ramos-Vinolas said in his field interview. “I think I played very seriously from start to finish and I’m very happy because I beat a very good opponent.”

The 34-year-old has won eight consecutive matches in Estoril, two of which were against Verdasco. Ramos-Vinolas needed three sets to triumph in their first two matches this week, but the result against his compatriot was never in doubt.

A year after beating Verdaco 6-3, 6-3 in the Portuguese tournament, the four-time ATP Tour winner saved the only break point he faced and won 53 percent of first serve return points to control the match. Ramos-Vinolas will play next in 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP final competitor Sebastian Baez.

Argentine Baez is watching his second final of the season after he managed to lose Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes, and the French veteran pays the price for just 46 percent of the first serves in the game.

Baez, who converted five of the six break points he earned, reached the Santiago final in February and is now 13-11 of the season.

“All the games this week have been tough and it was no different today,” Baez said. – I expect another big battle tomorrow.

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