Qualifier Frances Tiafoe looked down and out on Saturday at the Erste Bank Open, but he showed his fighting qualities for the second time this week as he battled back, overcoming Jannik Sinner 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach his first tour-level final of the season in Vienna.
The American, who was 0-3 down to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third set in the second round, rallied from 2-5 down in the second set against Sinner, winning 11 of the final 13 games as he found his best tennis to advance after two hours and 18 minutes.[FOLLOW ACTION]
With his victory, Tiafoe, who is making his second appearance in Vienna, has now earned a career-best 29 tour-level wins this season, surpassing the 28 he captured in 2018. The 23-year-old is bidding to win his first tour-level title since he triumphed in Delray Beach in 2018.
The World No. 49 has reduced the deficit to 1-2 in his ATP Head2Head series with Sinner and will face second seed Alexander Zverev in the championship match after the German defeated #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-3 to advance to his fifth tour-level final of the season.
Sinner won the title in Antwerp last week and was seeking his eighth consecutive victory. The Italian moved into eighth place (3,015 points) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin on Friday when he downed fellow Turin contender Casper Ruud, who is seventh (3,105).
The 20-year-old is bidding to make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour from 14-21 November.