Fils Downs Tsitsipas To Reach Antwerp Final

  • Posted: Oct 21, 2023

Fils Downs Tsitsipas To Reach Antwerp Final

Frenchman started year outside Top 250, now one win from Top 35

French teen Arthur Fils has become the youngest European Open finalist in history after a clutch 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Antwerp semi-finals Saturday.

The 19-year-old, who made his main-draw tour-level debut less than a year ago at the Rolex Paris Masters, is now one win away from his second title of the season and from breaking into the Top 35 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time after beginning the year outside the Top 250.

Fils, who looks certain to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah next month, saved two break points at 5-all in the first set. In the second set he failed to serve out the match at 5-4 but steadied with a love hold and dominant tie-break to close out the match and seal the second Top-10 win of his career.

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“I was very tight and my first serve just wouldn’t go [in]… so I said maybe it would be tough,” Fils said of trying to serve out the match. “He had some great points and I made some bad mistakes.
“But I was very happy with how I played in the tie-break and now I will try to bring my best in the final.”

Tsitsipas, who was chasing his second title of the season, remains in strong contention to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, as he continues to hold down sixth place in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin.

Fils next will play World No. 36 Alexander Bublik, who came into the event having lost in the opening round of all five tournaments he had contested since his run to the Wimbledon fourth round. 

Bublik put himself into position to return to the Top 30 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after moving into the Antwerp final with a 6-4, 6-4 win over German qualifier Maximilian Marterer.

The 26-year-old Kazakhstani heads into Sunday’s title match with a 2-6 record in tour-level finals, with his two trophy lifts coming in Halle earlier this year (d. Rublev) and in Montpellier in 2022 (d. Zverev).

“I played Max in a very tough match at Wimbledon earlier this year. It was the same game plan to be solid, stay focussed and use my experience,” Bublik said. 

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