Australia’s Alexei Popyrin took out third seed Marin Cilic in an absorbing contest at the Singapore Tennis Open on Saturday, prevailing 7-6 (5),7-6 (2) over the Croat to make it to his first ATP Tour final.
Popyrin let out a huge roar after sealing his victory in front of 250 fans, who were allowed to attend the tournament after passing Covid-19 tests.
“I worked my whole life to get into an ATP final and I’m finally in one tomorrow. It’s definitely an amazing feeling but I got one more match to go and I want to focus on that,” said the world number 114.
After taking the second set to a tiebreak, Popyrin raced to a 5-0 lead with his huge serves, helped no less by two unforced errors from Cilic.
The former world No 3 managed to stage a fightback to 2-5 but another ace from Popyrin swung the advantage back to the Australian, giving him four match points.
A powerful serve followed by a forehand winner eventually saw Popyrin winning in just under two hours.
“Only 250 fans are allowed but they were loud and it felt like the stadium was full. There were some Aussies I heard from the accent and they were screaming: ‘Come on Popy’. That’s always an amazing feeling when you’re not playing in your home country,” said Popyrin.
Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik sent Moldova’s Radu Albot packing in the day’s other semifinal match with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory to head into his fourth ATP final, where he will take on Popyrin.