Australian Bernard Tomic reached his first ATP World Tour final in more than two years on Saturday, beating Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4 6-4 in the semifinals of the Chengdu Open in China.
The 25-year-old will face top seed Fabio Fognini in Sunday’s final, after the Italian beat American Taylor Fritz 6-7(5) 6-0 6-3 in the other semifinal.
Tomic, who sent down 12 aces and saved all three break points he faced to beat Sousa in one hour 15 minutes, is finally returning to something like his best tennis after a slump that has seen his ranking drop to 123 in the world.
The last time the Australian found himself in a position to fight for a tour-level title was in Acapulco in February 2016, where he lost to Dominic Thiem.
“Fabio is playing ridiculous, he has won three titles this year and he wants to win another one,” Tomic said.
“He wants to make the (ATP Finals) so for him this is an important match, but I have got nothing to lose. We will see tomorrow.”
Fognini, the world number 13, is looking to become the first Italian man to win four ATP tour-level titles in a season, after his victories in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos.
He fought back after losing a first set tie-break to Fritz to claim his 40th tour-level win of the season in one hour 49 minutes.
“It’s my best year so far. I’m really happy that the first time I visit Chengdu, I am in my first final,” Fognini said.