Medvedev halts Monfils’ run

Daniil Medvedev

SOFIA — Big-hitting Daniil Medvedev stole the show at the Sofia Open Saturday as he punched his way to an emphatic 6-2, 6-4 victory over former world No. 6 Gael Monfils to set up a final clash against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

The Russian delighted the crowd in Arena Armeets with a barrage of sizzling winners as he broke twice in the first five games and never took his foot off the pedal to clinch the opening set.

The Frenchman put up more of a fight in the second and even managed to break to love in the eighth game.

But the 22-year-old Medvedev, hauling his giant 1.96 meter frame around the court, kept his composure to seal the win on his first match point.

“It was difficult at the end as Gael never stopped fighting. I’m glad that things didn’t get complicated and I made it to the final,” said Medvedev.

World number 47 Fucsovics battled past Italian giant-killer Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to progress to his second ATP final.

The Italian outclassed top seed Karen Khachanov and Fernando Verdasco in a sparkling week in the Bulgarian capital but his energy went down in the third set.

The 27-year-old Hungarian, who won his maiden ATP title in Geneva last year, recovered well after surrendering the gruelling first set to secure his place in the final.

Herbert beats Berdych

French seventh seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert downed Czech Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-5 to set up an all-French final with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier Saturday.

Herbert breezed through the opening set but Berdych offered more resistance in the second, only for the former world number four to crack at a key moment.

A Berdych double fault at 5-5 in the second set earned Herbert a break and the Frenchman then served it out to claim his first win against the Czech.

Wildcard Tsonga beat Moldova’s Radu Albot 6-1 6-3 after overcoming an early break in the second set.

Doubles specialist Herbert, who won the Australian Open title with Nicolas Mahut last month, will be looking to claim his first singles title on Sunday.

Tsonga will be bidding for his 17th singles title but his first since 2017. — Agencies