Lorenzo Sonego is one step away from becoming the first Italian for 14 years to capture an ATP Tour clay-court title on home soil after advancing to the Sardegna Open final on Saturday.
The 25-year-old will be bidding for his second trophy after he battled hard to overcome second-seeded American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in two hours and 39 minutes in Cagliari. Sonego led by a set and 3-0 before Fritz started his comeback.
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Sonego, who is one of 10 Italians in the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, will next face fourth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia or Serbia’s Laslo Djere in Sunday’s title match. Sonego beat Basilashvili in September 2020 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and is level at 1-1 with Djere in their ATP Head2Head series.
Former World No. 25 Filippo Volandri was the last Italian to lift a tour-level trophy on home soil at Palermo (d. Lapentti) in October 2006. Sonego captured his first crown at the 2019 Antalya Open (d. Kecmanovic).
Third seed Sonego make the breakthrough at 2-2 by converting his sixth break point on the back of three powerful forehands. While Fritz was able to level at 4-4 with a deep forehand, Sonego broke immediately to love. From 4-4 in the first set, Sonego won five straight games as the World No. 34 forced Fritz to work hard for every point.
Fritz ended the streak at 0-3 in the second set and Sonego blinked, letting the 23-year-old American back into their fourth ATP Head2Head meeting. Fritz went on to clinch his fourth straight game and eventually levelled the score by clinching the 64-minute set when Sonego struck a backhand into the net.
Sonego regrouped to break Fritz with a drop shot winner in the first game of the third set, and broke once again to take a 3-0 advantage after three consecutive forehands. Fritz continued to fight, but Sonego hammered home his advantage for a place in his first clay-court final.