Zverev, Schwartzman to meet in Cologne final

Tennis

COLOGNE, Germany — Alexander Zverev moved one match away from winning back-to-back ATP Tour titles after he beat Jannik Sinner in the Cologne Championship semifinals on Saturday to set up a final against Diego Schwartzman.

Zverev came back from 3-1 down in the first set to force the tiebreak on his way to a 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Zverev said he was fired up to beat Sinner after the Italian ended Zverev’s French Open run in the fourth round three weeks ago. Zverev played that match with fever-like symptoms and admitted he was not at his best. He was found not to have the coronavirus.

Since then, the German has bounced back with a win at last week’s Cologne Indoors and could seal another title on Sunday. The tournaments are both at the same venue in Cologne and were added to the tour as late replacements during the coronavirus pandemic.

Schwartzman defeated last week’s Cologne Indoors finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to reach his third final of 2020. The Argentine player is still searching for his first title of the year but is in strong form after reaching the French Open semifinals.

Schwartzman was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set before Auger-Aliassime won the next three games to force a decider. Schwartzman then broke the Canadian’s serve twice at the start of the third set to put him on course for victory.

Schwartzman said it would be a tough challenge to play Zverev in the final, given Zverev’s strong form over the last two weeks in Cologne.

“He’s the undefeated man so far so maybe tomorrow is the first match he is going to lose,” Schwartzman said. “It’s going to be very tough. He has confidence. He’s playing very good tennis.”

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