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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, October 20, 2017

Stockholm is a city of serenity.

Leave it to Fabio Fognini to amp up the crazy quotient at the Stockholm Open.

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Fognini fought off two match points, took a medical timeout for treatment of a knee injury, bounced his racquet around the court repeatedly, incurred a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and rode the ruckus to victory slipping past Jack Sock, 6-7 (3) 7-6 (2), 7-5, into the Stockholm semifinals.

It is Fognini’s fifth semifinal of the season and it didn’t come easy.

The theatrical Italian saved a pair of match points in the 10th game of the decider, slamming a smash to save the second, sparking a three-game run to subdue two-time finalist Sock in two hours, 50 minutes.

At one point, Sock complained to the tournament referee about Fognini's racquet-throwing antics, which eventually resulted in a point penalty. Sock did not shake hands with the chair umpire after the match though he did shake Fognini's hand.

“Yeah, crazy,” Fognini said of the topsy-turvy third set. “Happy to be in the semifinals of Stockholm and another shot to play again.

“The match was pretty long so hopefully (I will) have time to recover for next one.”

Fognini advanced to his fourth semifinal in his last eight tournaments.

The sixth-seeded Fognini will face 2013 tournament champion Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in Sunday’s final.

The top-seeded Dimitrov defeated Mischa Zverev for the third time in as many meetings, 6-3, 6-4.

Dimitrov served 67 percent, won 29 of 32 first-serve points and did not face a break point in a clinical 72-minute victory.

Zverev, who took treatment for a sore shoulder, was broken once in each set.

"I think I was very focused," Dimitrov said. "I knew what to do against Mischa. I think he was struggling a little bit with the shoulder, which I saw early on. It kind of gave me an encouragement to keep going. After that I didn’t have to do too much. I was taking my service game quite easily and I was just waiting for the right opportunity on his serve."

The eighth-ranked Bulgarian advanced to the Stockholm semifinals for the fourth time moving closer toward securing a spot in next month’s ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The 26-year-old Dimitrov has won three of five prior encounters with Fognini. The pair have split two hard-court clashes.

“Another great player, I mean anything can happen,” Dimitrov said of Fognini. “He’s a fighter. Today obviously he was down in the match, but he showed he’s super talented knows his way around the court pretty well. It’s not going to be an easy battle at all.”

Dimitrov, who won his maiden ATP title at the 2013 Stockholm, is playing for his fourth title of the year and first since he won the Cincinnati Masters in August.

Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro bolted by seventh-seeded  Yuichi Sugita, 6-2, 7-6 (6), into his second straight semifinal.

The No. 4-seeded del Potro will play eighth-seeded Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals.  


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