Jiri Vesely and Egor Gerasimov will compete for the title in Pune following their semi-final victories on Saturday. In the quarter-final, Vesely had to save two match points against Ilya Ivashka in a super intense deciding tie break, having to work even harder in the next clash to score a 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Ricardas Berankis in three hours and two minutes!
Jiri won 12 points more than Ricardas, blasting 28 aces and facing only four break chances, suffering three breaks and having to dig deep on the return to erase that deficit and stay in touch with the opponent who was giving his best in the quest for the first ATP final since 2017.
Ricardas delivered better numbers on the second serve, fending off four out of seven break chances and creating four match points in the third set tie break, squandering them all for one of the toughest losses of his career.
They traded breaks in games four and five of the opener, serving well in the remaining games to set a tie break where Vesely had four set points. It wasn't to be for a left-hander, though, wasting them all and losing the breaker 10-8 following a double fault.
The second set offered a similar scoreline, with breaks in games five and six and better serving in the rest of the set for another tie break, a must-win one for the Czech. Unlike in the opener, there were no mistakes from his side of the court, securing the tie break 7-3 following a double fault from Berankis to send the clash into a decider, with a two-hour mark pointed out on the clock.
As in the previous two sets, the decider offered back-to-back breaks at 1-1, with Ricardas fending off a break chance at 4-4 with a crafty volley winner, securing another tie break that went to the distance. The Lithuanian led 6-3 but couldn't take that final step, losing the next two points on Jiri's second serve and squandering the third with a weak volley that finished in the net.
His fourth and last match point came and gone following a forehand mistake, allowing Vesely to seal the deal at 8-7 and advance into the final. There, the Czech will play against Egor Gerasimov who took down James Duckworth 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and a half.
Dropping 15 points in 11 service games, the Belarusian never faced a break point, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and earning five break chances on the return. Duckworth did well to repel four of those, falling short on the last one in the second set to push the rival through and finish his run in the semis.
Both players served well in the opener, with only one break opportunity for Gerasimov at 3-3, denied by Duckworth who stood no chance in the tie break, losing it 7-2 after a return winner from Gerasimov who gained a massive boost ahead o set number two.
There, the Belarusian rattled off five commanding holds and seized a break chance at 5-4 to seal the deal and stay on the course for the first ATP title.