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Tsitsipas rallies past qualifier to reach Rotterdam final

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-12

Oct 15, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) reacts after missing a shot during his quarter final match against Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas rallied past a qualifier at the Rotterdam hard-court indoor tournament on Saturday to reach his first final since the French Open last June.

Tsitsipas ended Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka’s run by 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. He will face Felix Auger-Aliassime in Sunday’s final after the third seed came back from one set down to beat defending champion Andrey Rublev.

Tsitsipas was made to work for nearly two hours by the 137th-ranked Lehecka, who previously upset Denis Shapovalov.

Tsitsipas said he did not expect such an aggressive display from Lehecka.

“He was really pushing me,” Tsitsipas said. “I did not know what to expect, so I was trying to figure out his patterns and his game. He was playing incredibly well after the first serve, pressing and attacking like I had never seen before. I had to stay in the match and I managed to survive.”

Aged 20, Lehecka was the lowest-ranked Rotterdam semifinalist since 1995 and Omar Camporese, who was ranked 225th.

Chasing a maiden ATP title, Auger-Aliassime hit 41 winners, including 11 aces, and won 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2. It was his first win over Rublev.