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By Richard Pagliaro | Satuday, February 10, 2018

Stan Wawrinka

Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic won the final four games stunning top-seeded Stan Wawrinka, 7-6 (6), 6-4, to charge into the Sofia final.

Photo: Sofia Open Facebook

First-time finalists will face off in an unlikely Sofia Open final tomorrow.

Taking the biggest moment of his career on the rise, Mirza Basic flew through the final four games shocking top-seeded Stan Wawrinka, 7-6 (6), 6-4, and charging into his first ATP final in Sofia.

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It was Wawrinka's second tournament of the season after knee surgery forced him to miss the final five months of 2017.

"For sure, I'm disappointed and sad with the result to lose the semifinal," Wawrinka said. "I think he played a great match. He was playing good. He was trying to be aggressive on the court. When I arrive here I'm not yet where I want to be so I'm trying to get back my level.

"It was really positive to fight and to make semfinals. For sure, I would love to win one more match, but it's like that."

The 129th-ranked Bosnian qualifier scored his sixth straight win and first career Top 20 victory.

Basic rallied from 1-4 down in the first-set tiebreak and from a 2-4 second-set deficit surprising the three-time Grand Slam champion in their first meeting. Basic pumped seven aces and converted two of three break points.

“For today’s match I think I served very well both sets,” Basic said. “I think I played a very good match. I know he’s a big player—whatever he does it’s normal—so I’m very happy.

“I was just thinking to do my best. I was very focused, I was in the present and this helped me to make the match more clear."

Basic will play Marius Copil for the Sofia Open title.

The 93rd-ranked Romanian repelled qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-4, 6-2, to roll into his first final in 76 minutes.

Bidding for his first final since he fell to Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros title match last June, Wawrinka was up 4-1 in the tie break, but lost his way, clanking a costly double fault at 6-all in dropping the tie break.

The 15th-ranked Swiss banged out the first break of the match on a Basic forehand error, taking a 3-2 lead after 66 minutes.

Losing pace on his serve, Wawrinka overshot the baseline with a backhand down the line to face break point in the eighth game. A passive Wawrinka did not do enough with a mid-court ball shoveling a forehand drop shot attempt into net to hand back the break.

Seeing the Swiss’ energy level dip, Basic powered through a love hold—sealing a 5-4 lead when Wawrinka muffed yet another sloppy forehand drop shot attempt.

Serving to level, Wawrinka missed the mark on a forehand pass crosscourt handing the qualifier match point.

Opening the court with an inside-out forehand, Basic was up quickly to a mid-court forehand he fired down the line to close in one hour, 24 minutes.

“First time I’m playing finals tomorrow—I’m very happy to be here,” Basic said. “Big win for me today, but tomorrow I am playing finals and I need to focus.”


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