Twice up a break in the third with match points and again with a mini-break lead in the final set breaker, all wasn’t enough for Alexander Zverev who lost the last five points of the match to Nikolaz Basilashvili 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) in his hometown Hamburg semifinals.
“I don’t think I was calm. I was really emotional inside. Maybe I didn’t show that much,” Basilashvili said. “I was serving really, really bad in the third set, so that got me very emotional and I got very tight also in the third set. But in general, how I managed to come back from 2-5 in the tie-break was something that I give credit to myself. It doesn’t happen with my tennis that often, so I’m really happy.
“In the tie-break, I was really concentrated on the ball and just how to play tennis, how just to play the game,” Basilashvili added. “But inside I think Sascha was also very tight and emotional, and me also because it is one or two points that decide the match.”
After coming from 3-1 down in the decider, Zverev reached two match points on the Georgian’s serve at 5-3.
“My mind was calm pretty much,” Zverev said. “I came back yesterday so I knew I could do it again today, and I was close to it… I guess it was a nice atmosphere and it was good for the crowd, but now he is in the final and I lost. So it’s not the nicest feeling in the world.”
Basilashvili hit 38 winners to 68 unforced errors. Zverev’s ratio was 24-to-40.
Basilashvili, who won the Hamburg title last year, will face Russian Andrey Rublev in the final Sunday.
Rublev had to come from a set and a break down to deny Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
“At one moment I didn’t give up, but kind of accepted that he is much better than me today,” said Rublev. “I broke him back, then he got a little tight and I started to play even better. In the third set, I felt much more confident… and then everything was so fast.”
Basilashvili won his only previous match against Rublev in Doha earlier this year.
“Everybody is tired, everybody has had tough matches. It’s a different feeling and different emotions, so we’ll see how it’s going to be tomorrow,” said Rublev. “It’s my first ATP 500 final. Of course, I’d like to win and will try my best, but it’s been an amazing week for me.”
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