Zverev tops Delbonis to reach Geneva Open final
Alexander Zverev of Germany celebrates after defeating Federico Delbonis of Argentina in their semi final match at the Geneva Open tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 24, 2019. EPA-EFE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Federico Delbonis of Argentina reacts during his semifinal match against Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Geneva Open tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 24, 2019. EPA-EFE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Alexander Zverev of Germany in action against Federico Delbonis of Argentina during their semifinal match at the Geneva Open tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 24, 2019. EPA-EFE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Geneva, May 24 (efe-epa).- Alexander Zverev earned a hard-fought 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 victory over Federico Delbonis on Friday to reach the final of the Geneva Open, a tune-up event for the French Open.
The fifth-ranked German will be making only his second appearance in a championship match in 2019 - and his first in a clay-court final since last year's Italian Open - when he takes on Chile's Nicolas Jarry on Saturday.
The 22-year-old German looked like he had the match under control when he grabbed a 5-1 lead out of the gates, but his Argentine opponent stormed back to win the next four games before faltering late in the first set.
Zverev then seemed to be on the brink of victory when a return winner on break point gave him a 4-2 lead in the second set.
The 84th-ranked Delbonis, however, refused to go away, breaking back in the very next game when the German netted a forehand.
That set came down to a closely contested tiebreaker, which went the Argentine's way after Zverev shanked a forehand long at 6-6 and then struck a backhand return of serve in the net on set point.
But the German's superior serve finally gave him the slight edge in the decider, as he saved the lone break point he faced and earned one critical break of serve in the third game and one final break in the final game.
"I'm very happy with the win. I'm very happy to be in the final and give myself an opportunity to win a tournament here," Zverev, who served 15 aces, was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour's Web site.
Zverev, who won the season-ending ATP Finals last November and appeared poised for a possible run at a maiden Grand Slam title and the No. 1 ranking in 2019, is still seeking his first title of the season.
He came up short in his lone championship match this year, losing to mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Mexican Open final in early March.
His opponent on Saturday will be another big-hitting South American, the 75th-ranked Jarry, who defeated 45th-ranked Moldovan Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4 in Friday's other semifinal.
Jarry won the only previous meeting between the two players when he edged Zverev 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in last month's Barcelona Open, but the German expects a completely different contest this time around.
"In Barcelona, I wasn't playing well there," Zverev said. "I don't think it was a very high-level match to be honest ... I think we are both playing better now and it's going to be completely different, I think."
The Geneva Open is a tune-up event for the French Open, tennis' premier clay-court event, which gets under way on Sunday.