Gasquet, Schwartzman Battle From The Brink To Set Final Duel
Frenchman, Argentine rally to reach Antwerp final.
A pair of thrilling comebacks marked Semi-final Saturday at the European Open in Antwerp, as Richard Gasquet rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Kyle Edmund and Diego Schwartzman saved two points to stun home favourite and top seed David Goffin.
Veteran experience prevailed in the first semi-final, as third seed Gasquet stormed back to oust #NextGen star Edmund. The 30-year-old Frenchman reached his 27th ATP World Tour final, downing his 21-year-old opponent 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 after two hours and four minutes.
Edmund was on the cusp of becoming the fourth member of the Next Generation contingent to reach a final in just the past five weeks, leading 4-2 in the second set, but Gasquet stayed the course and refused to surrender. Edmund burst out the blocks in the opener, breaking to love in the sixth game, and took the lead in the second with an immediate break for 1-0. As the match wore on, the Brit's energy level dipped and Gasquet grabbed in the initiative, breaking back for 4-4 as an Edmund forehand found the net.
Serving to force a second set tie-break at 6-5, Edmund struck his first double fault to give Gasquet three set points. The Frenchman would seize the opportunity, forcing a decider and converting the decisive break for 3-1 with a sublime backhand down the line.
Gasquet will appear in his third ATP World Tour final of the year, having prevailed in Montpellier (d. Mathieu) and finished runner-up earlier this month in Shenzhen (l. to Berdych). Either top seed David Goffin or Argentina's Diego Schwartzman awaits on Sunday.
Edmund, meanwhile, enjoyed his biggest result on the ATP World Tour in reaching his first semi-final. He notched his fourth Top 20 win of the year in upsetting David Ferrer in the second round.
In Saturday's second semi-final, Diego Schwartzman pulled the upset of the tournament in stunning top seed and home favourite David Goffin 7-5, 2-6, 7-5. The Argentine saved two match points with Goffin serving for a spot in the final at 5-4 in the decider, eventually rifling a backhand winner to draw level. He would proceed to reel off 10 of the last 11 points, breaking to love to seal the win after two hours and 23 minutes.
"It was amazing for me," said Schwartzman. "It's my second time here in Belgium. The last time was in Davis Cup when David beat me last year. Today I played really well. It was a tough match."
Schwartzman overturned an 0-11 mark against Top 20 players with the victory, booking a spot in his second ATP World Tour final. He previously defeated Grigor Dimitrov for the Istanbul title earlier this year. On Sunday, Schwartzman will meet Gasquet for the first time.
"Richard is a great player. He's Top 10 and very talented. I need to recover and be ready for the final."
Top seeds Herbert/Mahut Cruise Into Final
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, the No. 1 team in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, advanced to their ninth final of the season Saturday in Antwerp. The French duo downed Dominic Inglot and Andre Sa 6-3, 6-2.
Winners at Wimbledon, Queen's Club and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo, Herbert and Mahut will face second seeds Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Sunday's final.
Credit: ATP World Tour