Romanian qualifer Marius Copil stunned German second seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 on Saturday to advance to the finals at the Swiss Indoors Basel in Switzerland.
It’s the second final of the year for Copil. If he wins, he’ll become the ATP’s 14th first-time winner in 2018; the 13 current first-time winners already set a record.
To achieve that, however, he’ll have to face top-seeded Roger Federer, who breezed past seventh-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-1, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
Federer, the eight-time champion and hometown hero, needed just 64 minutes to complete the victory and reach his 14th Basel final.
Before this event, Copil never had beaten a top 10 opponent in six tries. This week, he has beaten No. 6 Marin Cilic and Zverev, who is ranked fifth.
After struggling in the second set, Copil recovered and finished the match off with 10 aces in the final set.
Ranked No 93 in the world, Copil will rise to a career-high ranking regardless of Sunday’s outcome.
Erste Bank Open 500
Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan held off Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals at Vienna, Austria.
Nishikori dominated on serve as he beat Kukushkin for the eighth time in eight meetings.
Nishikori, in his third final this season, is seeking his first title since 2016 and potentially a spot in the ATP finals. A win would leave him just 125 points out of the eighth and final spot.
He’ll face second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who beat Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
Nishikori has beaten Anderson four times in six meetings but has lost the last eight times he has appeared in a championship match.
Anderson won in three sets in their only meeting this season.
—Field Level Media