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By Adrianna Outlaw | Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fabio Fognini

Fabio Fognini dissected qualifier Lucas Pouille, 6-2, 7-6 (2), to reach his second final of the season in Hamburg.

Photo credit: Tennis Championships am Rothenbaum

Set point was no stress test for Fabio Fognini.

Facing set point at 5-6, Fognini ambled into net behind a delayed serve-and-volley and caressed a half volley to erase it. Fognini is one of the few players who can make casual look convincing.

More: Top 5 ATP Disappointments of 2015

The eighth-seeded Fognini dissected French qualifier Lucas Pouille, 6-2, 7-6 (2), rolling into his second final of the season on the red clay of Hamburg.

The 2013 Hamburg champion will face either top-seeded Rafael Nadal or Italian compatriot Andreas Seppi in tomorrow's final.

Contesting his first semifinal since February when he snapped Nadal's 52-match winning streak in clay-court semifinals with a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 triumph in Rio de Janeiro, Fognini commanded most of the baseline rallies today.

Despite serving just 44 percent, the world No. 32 whipped his slice serve wide to set up his first strike and keep the 21-year-old Frenchman on the move. Fognini scored his second break for a 4-1 first-set lead. He won 16 of 19 points played on his serve in the opening set.

Down set point at 5-6, Fognini pulled off that dazzling half-volley to withstand that challenge. Pouille, who was playing his second career ATP semifinal, cracked a forehand to open the tie break. That was really his last stand.

The Australian Open doubles champion reeled off six straight points for a 6-1 lead. Two points later, Pouille nudged a volley into net ending a one hour, 23-minute match.


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