Umag, Croatia,July 28: Third-seeded Fabio Fognini saved three match points Saturday before reaching the final of the Croatia Open, beating Gael Monfils of France 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in a match full of momentum swings and turnarounds.
He will play fifth-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain, who overcame No. 2 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Fognini brushed aside Monfils in the first set, losing just 10 points, but then made a number of unforced errors in the second as the Frenchman leveled the match.
Fognini then jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set before Monfils fought back again. The Frenchman saved two match points when trailing 5-3, but then wasted three of his own at 6-5.
Fognini trailed 2-0 in the tiebreaker before recovering to reach his first Croatia Open final and stay on course for a third title in as many weeks after winning in Stuttgart and Hamburg. Fognini now has 13 singles victories in a row. He reached the semis in Umag in 2008 and 2011.
“I started really solid at the beginning, but slowed down in the second set,” he said. “It will be my third final in a row, I will try to win. I am tired, but mentally I go for the third title.”
Robredo failed to convert any of his five break points in the second set against Seppi, but broke early in the third to take a 2-1 lead. He clinched the win when a long rally ended with a backhand error by Seppi.
“This was tough match, with long rallies,” Robredo said. “We actually always play long matches. I am glad that this one went to my side.”
Robredo reached his second final of the year and has a 3-1 head-to-head record against Fognini by 3-1, winning all matches on clay.
“We know each other very good,” Robredo said. “He did not lose a match this month, but I'll try my best, go for his weaknesses.”