Wawrinka to face 'future of tennis' Zverev in Russia final
Alexander Zverev of Germany returns the ball to Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic during the St. Petersburg Open ATP tennis tournament semifinal match in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) Stan Wawrinka will try to follow up his U.S. Open championship with another title in St. Petersburg after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (8), 6-2 in their semifinal Saturday.
Unbeaten in 10 matches, the Swiss star must beat fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev to win the title after the German teenager disposed of Tomas Berdych in the first semifinal.
Seeded first in St. Petersburg, Wawrinka had to come through a tough first set against Bautista Agut. The Spaniard had two set points in the tiebreaker and saved one of his opponent's before Wawrinka converted his second set point.
Bautista Agut couldn't respond in the second set as he won just seven points on Wawrinka's serve.
''For me to make the final, it's really good, really positive,'' said Wawrinka, who called Zverev ''the future of tennis, for sure.''
The German surprised third-seeded Berdych 6-4, 6-4 and will chase his first career ATP title Sunday in his family's original home country of Russia.
Zverev bombarded Berdych with fast, accurate serves while the Czech veteran struggled, landing just 44 percent of first serves in the second set and leading 30-20 on unforced errors overall.
Berdych had three break points when Zverev served for the match, but the German kept calm to fight back and close out the win.
Zverev is 0-2 in career finals, having lost in Nice and Halle this year. Wawrinka is 15-9 in career tour finals, but has won 11 straight finals dating back to January 2014. It will be the first time the two have played each other.