Lorenzi beats Melzer, plays Basilashvili in Kitzbuehel final
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) Fourth-seeded Paolo Lorenzi missed 12 match points before defeating Gerald Melzer of Austria 7-6 (4), 7-6 (13) on Friday and setting up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia at the Generali Open.
The 48th-ranked Italian dropped 5-2 behind and saved four set points for Melzer in the opening set. He missed six match points at 5-4 in the second set and six more in the tiebreaker before finally wrapping up the win.
The match was interrupted for almost two hours because of rain in the second set with Lorenzi leading 4-3.
Seeking his first career title, Lorenzi appears in his second final after losing to Federico Delbonis of Argentina at Sao Paolo two years ago. He has not played Basilashvili before.
Lorenzi became the highest-ranked player left in the tournament after Dominic Thiem, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Marcel Granollers all lost their opening matches at the clay-court event in the Austrian Alps.
Despite missing out on his first final, the 107th-ranked Melzer will enter the top 100 for the first time when rankings are updated after the weekend.
Earlier Friday, Basilashvili became the first tennis player from Georgia to reach an ATP final after beating Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1.
''I think it's something special,'' the 123rd-ranked Basilashvili said. ''I worked for this very hard. I started aggressively and I just played great.''
Playing in his maiden semifinal, Basilashvili took control of the match after he broke Lajovic while leading 4-3 in the opening set. Dominating with strong groundstrokes, Basilashvili broke his opponent's serve three more times and won nine of the last 10 games to close out the win.
The 83rd-ranked Lajovic, who was seeded sixth, went 0-2 in semifinals this season.