Croatia final set with Cilic, Dolgopolov
UMAG, Croatia (AP)
Marin Cilic defeated Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday to advance to the Croatia Open final against Ukraine's Aleksandr Dolgopolov.
The fourth-seeded Cilic dropped serve only once in the match, at the start of the second set, before becoming the first Croat to reach the Umag final since Goran Prpic defeated compatriot Goran Ivanisevic in 1990.
In the other semifinal Saturday, the second-seeded Dolgopolov beat Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 6-4, 6-4.
''It was not as easy as it looks,'' Cilic said. ''I had to play really hard to win. My serve went up and down, especially in the second set. But I am really happy how I played.''
Fognini, seeded sixth, led 2-0 in the second set before losing six consecutive games. The 24-year-old Italian had been trying to reach his first ATP World Tour final. He is now 0-6 in semifinals.
Fognini beat Cilic in straight sets in their only previous encounter, in 2009 in Monte Carlo.
''It was just the opposite of Monte Carlo. He played very good, I played bad,'' Fognini said. ''I had a few chances but it was a bad match for me.''
Dolgopolov missed two break points in the first set but broke Ferrero for a 4-3 lead.
In the second set, the Ukrainian raced to a 2-0 lead before Ferrero leveled at 3-3. But another break for 5-4 gave Dolgopolov the crucial advantage.
It will be the second career final for Dolgopolov, after reaching the same stage in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, earlier this year.
''I played very well, I did the right stuff,'' Dolgopolov said. ''It's going to be tough in the final. Cilic serves well, hits many winners.''