Bautista to face Becker in final after marathon day

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 21, 2014, 09:07 AM IST

Roberto Bautista won back-to-back matches on Friday to advance to the final of the s-Hertogenbosch Open where he will meet Germany`s Benjamin Becker.

The Spanish world number 28 knocked out defending champion Nicolas Mahut of France 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the quarter-finals before returning to court later in the day for his semi-final clash after rain on Thursday forced a carry-over.

Austrian Jurgen Melzer was his opponent after overcoming the challenge of Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6, (7/3), 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (11/9) in an epic match also earlier in the day.

In a marathon six sets of tennis for both players on the day, Bautista came out on top 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) to sink Melzer`s brave challenge.

He will now meet Germany`s Benjamin Becker, the 2009 champion, who ended the run of Portuguese qualifier Joao Sousa 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) to set up a chance for a second career ATP title both at the same venue.

"I always enjoy playing here very much," said Becker. "I like to play on grass and I don`t know why but I often play my best tennis at this tournament."

Becker, who memorably recorded the final victory over Andre Agassi at the 2006 US Open before the American retired, is now ranked 83rd in the world after peaking at 38 in 2007.

In the women`s draw, American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe advanced to the final with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Czech Republic eighth seed Klara Zakopalova.

She now plays China`s Zheng Jie, who has yet to drop a set on her way to the final, as she knocked out Slovakian Magdalea Rybarikova 6-1, 6-3.

Vandeweghe is gearing up for Wimbledon where she drew Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, the woman she beat on Thursday in the quarter-finals.

"It was a good, clean match," Vandeweghe said of her win over Koukalova.

"Last week I lost to her in a tough three-setter after serving for the match, so I definitely looked at it as a revenge match. To get that win in a semi-final is a really fun feeling.

"I`m totally happy and elated. It`s been a good year so far. I`m looking forward to playing in the final."