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Tiafoe produces stunning turnaround to reach Vienna final, dent Sinner’s hopes of making ATP Finals

The American will meet Alexander Zverev as he tries to win his second career title

Frances Tiafoe Vienna SF 2021 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

ATP500 Vienna | Draw | Schedule

Just call him the miracle man. France Tiafoe produced a stunning comeback as he recovered from a set and 5-2 down to beat Italy’s Jannik Sinner 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 and claim an unlikely place in the final of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. He’ll play Alexander Zverev for the title on Sunday.

The American, who had to come through qualifying to get into the main draw, looked dead and buried when he trailed 3-0 and then 5-2 in the second set, Sinner bullying him from the baseline.

But a couple of errors let Tiafoe back in and the American maintained his momentum, breaking early in the third and holding his nerve to reach his second career final, and his first since 2018. His win also dented Sinner’s hopes of qualifying for next month’s ATP Finals, keeping him in eighth place.

Tiafoe turns the tide, with help from the crowd

“It has been a long week for me,” Tiafoe said. “I tried to have fun with it and get the crowd involved and could see if he would get a little nervous. I know how to get the crowd behind me, few jokes and that and then I started to play unbelievably. The crowd made the difference. I felt because of them I started to lock in harder.

“It is huge. I have played some great tennis all week and now I want to win the tournament.”

Sinner will now go to Paris for next week’s Rolex Paris Masters, chasing the points he needs to book his place in Turin. With eighth-placed Rafael Nadal out for the season, he is effectively eighth, 50 points above Hurkacz, with Cameron Norrie, Felix Auger Aliassime and Aslan Karatsev all still in contention to grab one of the two remaining spots.

Tiafoe, meanwhile, will try to raise himself again to play Zverev, a confident 6-3, 6-3 winner over Carlos Alcaraz of Spain in the first semi-final earlier in the day.

“I finally found my rhythm from the baseline because I was really struggling,” said Olympic champion Zverev, who has won 24 of his 26 matches since Wimbledon. “I didn’t feel the ball well and I spent some time on the court after the match yesterday and warmed up for an hour and a half before the match today and I finally got it.”

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