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Tennis | ATP

Janko Tipsarevic © Action Images

Tipsarevic, Agut into Chennai Open final



World No 9 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and unseeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain set up a title clash in the ATP Chennai Open with hard-earned wins on Saturday.

The second-seeded Tipsarevic fought back after losing the first set to oust 23-year-old Aljaz Bedene of Slovania 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal that lasted two hours and five minutes.

The 80th-ranked Agut, who knocked out top seed Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals, entered his maiden tour final by beating fifth seed Benoit Paire of France 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The 24-year-old Spaniard said his giant-killing run in the $430 000 season-opener was "like a dream", but hoped his good form will not desert him in Sunday's final.

"This is obviously the best week in my career," said Agut. "I trained hard in the off-season and I think I am playing as well as I did last year.

"Beating Tomas in the quarterfinal was special because it was the first time I beat a top-10 player. Now I have to beat another top-10 player in the final.

"Janko is a very good player, but I must have the belief that I can win. I am quite excited about the final."

Agut overcame the loss of the first set against Paire to win seven of the next eight games to take a 1-0 lead in the third set.

The 47th-ranked Paire broke back in the second game, before Agut produced three cross-court forehands to break the Frenchman in the ninth, and then held his serve in the next to wrap up the match.

Tipsarevic, a losing finalist last year against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, stayed on course to win his first Chennai Open title in his fifth appearance in the southern Indian city.

The tall Serb appeared shaken when Bedene, ranked 86th, secured a break in the ninth game of the first set with two superb passing shots.

But Bedene, who beat fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, was outplayed in the next two sets as Tipsarevic served solidly and raised his game from the baseline.

"I knew I was playing well, but after a good start I took two steps backwards and just started pushing the ball," Tipsarevic said of his loss in the first set.

"I think I played some of my best tennis in the next two sets and look forward to continue the same way in the final.

"I will be the favourite tomorrow, but I know my opponent will be motivated to win his first final, so I cannot afford to be complacent."

Bedene, whose only other quarterfinal appearance of his career was also ended by Tipsarevic in Vienna last year, said his lack of experience made all the difference.

"It had to be Janko again," the soft-spoken Slovenian said. "He is one of the best players in the world and knows what it takes to come out of a tight corner and win a match.

"But I am feeling great and positive. I go from here after playing my first semifinal. I am also excited at being placed in the main draw for the first time at the Australian Open."

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