The 24-year-old Italian Gianluca Mager will compete in his second Challenger final after Milan last year, beating the 14th seed Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes. Mager fired 11 aces and despite playing better on both the first and second serve he had to work hard to earn the win, with both scoring four breaks in total.
They traded breaks at the start of the match before Mager shifted into a higher gear, winning four games in a row to forge the lead and clinching the opening set with a hold at love in game nine for a 6-3. Griekspoor raised his level in set number two, keeping his serve intact and breaking Gianluca in games four and eight to grab the set 6-2 and send the match into a decider.
Mager managed to leave this set behind him, sprinting into a 5-1 lead with breaks in games one and five before closing the encounter with a solid hold in game ten for the place in the final. There, he will face the Spaniard Roberto Ortega-Olmedo who ousted the young Russian Pavel Katov 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes for his first Challenger final at the age of 27!
Ortega-Olmedo won just five points more than his rival, saving eight break points out of 11 opportunities he gave to the Russian and stealing four return games to cross the finish line first. Roberto was up a break twice in the opening set, only to lose the advantage in the very next game and keep Katov in contention before the third break he scored at 5-5, bringing the set home with a hold in game 12 for a 7-5.
Pavel served better in set number two, earning a break at 2-1 that he carried home to gain a boost before the start of the final set. Nonetheless, Ortega-Olmedo found an extra gear there, serving well and breaking the youngster in game six before sealing the deal on own serve three games later for his biggest result at this level so far in a career. Semi-final results:
Gianluca Mager (ITA) vs Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-3 2-6 6-4 [1:40]
Roberto Ortega-Olmedo (ESP) vs Pavel Kotov (RUS) 7-5 3-6 6-3 [2:11]