French No.1 Ugo Humbert easily brushed aside Fabio Fognini on Friday to reach the final of the Metz tournament which he “dreams of winning”, at home, and will meet the Russian Alexander Shevchenko, who fell a little earlier against Pierre-Hugues Herbert . A “bubble” in the first round (6-0) completed in 26 minutes, a second just as quick (6-2) for a victory in 1h07: the 25-year-old Messin left no chance for the Italian Fabio Fognini. After losing only three points on his serve in the first set, Humbert hung on until 2-2 before Fognini finally gave up.
The 23rd player in the world will play the first final of his season in a tournament of this level. On Saturday, he will have the opportunity to win his fourth title after Auckland and Antwerp in 2020, and Halle (ATP 500) in 2021. “I had a solid match,” he commented. I was focused on my goal. It’s the last tournament of the year, it’s at home, I dream of winning it.”
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His opponent in the final, the Russian Alexander Shevchenko (22 years old) has already achieved his goal by reaching the final of such a tournament for the first time. The Russian, 63rd in the world, got the better of another Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert (344th) in two sets (6-4, 6-4) and 1h17 of play, for their first confrontation. The latter admitted afterwards that he had also paid for his riot of energy the day before, in the quarter-finals, to beat another Frenchman, Luca van Assche in three sets (4-6, 6-3, 7-5) and 2h34.
Shevchenko had a catastrophic start to the match with a double entry fault before losing her serve, then the first set. In the second, the two men held each other until 4-4 but he then released some great shots to win. “He was simply stronger than me,” admitted Herbert, who is gradually regaining his level after numerous injuries. “I’ve dreamed of playing in a final since I was a kid,” smiled Shevchenko. It's a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. Even if I see others later!”.