Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini and world No. 111 Martin Klizan will meet in the final of the BMW Open in Munich, after both competitors breezed through their semi-final match-ups on Saturday. This marks the fifth time they will meet on the professional tour, with Fognini leading the head-to-head series 3-1.
Fognini cruised past qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-1 in just over one hour on Saturday to set up his third final of the season so far. The win also improved his overall match record in 2014 to 26-8. The Italian won the title in Vine del Mar, where he defeated Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, and reached the final in Copa Claro, where he lost to Spanish No. 2 David Ferrer.
“It was a difficult match,” Fognini told ATPWorldTour.com. “I am happy because I am in the final on my debut here. Tomorrow will be tough as I know Martin very well and he plays really good. Though I have beaten him the past few times, I will have to be careful as a final is a special match.”
Qualifier Martin Kilzan upset second seed and defending champion Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-2 in 64 minutes. It was a disappointing performance from Haas, who was looking to defend a ATP World Tour title for the first time in his career.
“Conditions were very tough today, but it was the same for both of us” said Klizan, who is now coached by Martin Damm. “I think I am playing very good tennis now.
The 111-ranked Klizan has now reached his second ATP World Tour final, where he will meet Italian no.1 Fabio Fognini. Considering Fognini’s unpredictable and volatile approach to tennis, Klizan sees it as a tough match for himself, but an entertaining one for the crowd in attendance.
“It will be a very tough match in the final, so it will be good for the crowd. I will try and play good tennis and enjoy it.”
It is interesting to note that Klizan’s only other ATP World Tour final was against Fognini back in 2012. The Slovak would earn the victory in St-Petersburg on the indoor hard court surface, and finish his season in the Top 50 for the first time in his career. He was also voted ATP Newcomer of the year because of that. While much has changed since then, as Fognini has since won their last three consecutive encounters on the tour, one on each of the main surfaces in tennis competition. Fognini was most dominant against Klizan on clay in Umag, where he defeated the Slovak 6-4 6-2 to reach the semi-final round.
Fognini is chasing his fourth title on this surface, and has proven to be most comfortable on the red dirt, so it will be down to Klizan to prove that his last ATP World Tour final victory was not a fluke win against Fognini.
Prediction: Fabio Fognini in Three Sets