World No.9 Diego Schwartzman defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in a thrilling three-set semifinal match at the Cologne Championship. Having reached the finals of Cordoba and Rome earlier this season, Schwartzman will play in his third final of the year. With only the last two spots up for the grabs, the Argentine is inching closer to the year-end ATP World Tour Finals for the first-time ever.
After winning the first set, Schwartzman had a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set. However, Auger-Aliassime fought back to win three consecutive games and pushed the match into the deciding set. The Roland Garros semifinalist broke his opponent’s serve twice in the third set to wrap up the match in two-hour 31-minutes.
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Diego Schwartzman faces tough challenge
Schwartzman will face the No.1 seed Alexander Zverev in the final who came back after being 1-3 down in the first set to defeat Jannik Sinner at the penultimate stage. Zverev won the Cologne Indoors last week and is looking to win back-to-back ATP titles.
During the post-match conference, Schwartzman acknowledged that Zverev would be tough to beat considering he has won multiple titles in his home country. However, the No.2 seed has a 2-1 head-to-head lead in his rivalry against Zverev.
“He is the undefeated man [in Cologne] so far. Maybe tomorrow is the first match he is going to lose. I don’t know. He is a great player. He always likes to play in Germany. He has a lot of titles here in his country, so it is going to be very tough. He has confidence and he is playing very good tennis, so I have to rest and be ready for tomorrow,” said Schwartzman.
The last time the duo squared off against each other was in the Round-of-16 at the US Open 2020, where Schwartzman ousted Zverev to reach the quarterfinals.