Rising Swedish star Mikael Ymer had a clear game plan of how to play against Umag champion Carlos Alcaraz and he managed to pull it off. Ymer, ranked at No. 90 in the world, surprised No. 15 seed Alcaraz 7-5 6-3 to reach the Winston-Salem Open final.
For the first time since Robin Soderling won Bastad in 2011, Sweden has an ATP finalist. "With toolbox I have and the way he plays, [wearing him down] is more or less the only option, because he's so aggressive," Ymer said, per the ATP website.
"I think I executed the plan pretty well."
Ymer stole the first set
Alcaraz made a positive start to the match, having broken Ymer in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead. Alcaraz had a great chance to win the first set but he blew a 5-3 lead as Ymer claimed back-to-back breaks to overturn the deficit and stole the opener.
Ymer extended his run to seven consecutive games at the start of the second set as he got off to an early 3-0 second set lead after winning the opener. Ymer then routinely held on to his serve the rest of the match as he didn't allow Alcaraz a single break point opportunity to get back into the match.
Ymer will be fighting Ilya Ivashka for the Winston-Salem title. Ivashka beat rising star Emil Ruusuvuori to reach the final. "I feel good physically and mentally and I’m just trying to play my best tennis. I like to play on hard courts, so it's all coming together this week,” Ivashka said.
"It is something I have been dreaming of to get an ATP title, so let's see tomorrow if it happens." Lately, Ivashka has been exchanging messages with Belarusian tennis legend Max Mirnyi. "He's a really nice guy, an unbelievable human being and a legend of our sport," Ivashka said of Mirnyi.
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