Alex de Minaur held his nerve in a tense victory over Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday evening for a place in the European Open final.
The eighth-seeded Australian weathered some blistering shot-making from fourth seed Dimitrov to triumph 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes. He will next challenge France’s Ugo Humbert in his seventh ATP Tour title match (3-3 record).
De Minaur, who has a 10-7 record on the season and is through to his first tour-level final in 12 months (2019 Swiss Indoors Basel), was slightly stronger on serve in the deciding set, which featured three straight service breaks from 3-3.[WATCH LIVE 1]
De Minaur won the first five points of the first-set tie-break, after both players struggled to hold serve. Dimitrov, who won 44 per cent of his first-service points in the 55-minute opener, stepped up in the second and played a solid tie-break, winning the first six points.
When De Minaur broke for a 4-3 lead in the decider, the 21-year-old looked on course for victory, but Dimitrov broke back to love only to make three groundstroke errors at 4-4. De Minaur then took his time when serving for the match.
The 29-year-old Dimitrov had been bitting to reach his 16th ATP Tour final (8-7), the last of which came in February 2018 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Federer). The Bulgarian is now 16-10 on the year.
De Minaur have not met Humbert before. Humbert needs three hours and 13 minutes to beat Daniel Evans in the first semi-final on Saturday.