Argentine Francisco Cerundolo Cruises Past Carreno Busta to Reach Final

Continuing his impressive 2022 season, Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo delivered another accomplished all-around showing to register a 6-3, 6-2 semifinal win over fifth seed Pablo Carreno Busta and reach the final of the Nordea Open, taking place in Bastad, Sweden on Saturday.

Following his second-round win against top seed Casper Ruud on Wednesday in Sweden, World No. 39 Cerundolo had described 2022 as “the best year so far in my career”.

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And, with this win, things are only getting better for the 23-year-old, who will now face second seed Andrey Rublev or countryman Sebastian Baez in his second ATP Tour final on Sunday.

“I think I played one of the best matches in my career today. Everything went well. I am feeling so comfortable and playing with so much confidence that it’s amazing to be playing like this. Hopefully, I can keep going and maintain my level or improve it,” said Cerundolo in his on-court interview.

“It’s fantastic to be in another final. Last year, I was in the final at home in Buenos Aires and I lost pretty badly, so I hope tomorrow I can have a better match and hopefully take my first title home,” he added.

Cerundolo was playing in his third semifinal of the 2022 season against Carreno Busta in Sweden. The Argentine reached the last four in Rio de Janeiro in February and surged to a maiden ATP Masters 1000 semifinal in Miami in March.

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A tight first set hinged on a pair of hard-fought games that ultimately went the way of Cerundolo. The Argentine fended off two Carreno Busta breakpoints in the third game to hold his serve, before converting his fourth breakpoint of the eighth game as he frequently dictated play with some huge striking off the forehand wing.

That proved to be enough for Cerundolo to seal the set, and the 23-year-old did not look back from that point on as he frequently manoeuvred his opponent around the court to race to a 5-0 lead in the second set. Despite a brief blip on serve that allowed Carreno Busta to reclaim a break, Cerundolo converted his second match point two games later to cap an assured 76-minute victory.

Aside from his hard-fought three-set win against Ruud on Wednesday, Cerundolo has brushed past Pedro Sousa, Aslan Karatsev and Carreno Busta without dropping a set this week in Sweden. Saturday’s victory in his maiden ATP head-to-head meeting against Carreno Busta lifts the Argentine to No 32 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

The win improved Cerundolo’s 2022 record to 16-11, and his record against Top 20 opponents this year now stands at 3-4. If he lifts his maiden tour-level trophy in Sweden on Sunday, the Argentine could rise as high as No. 30 in this Monday’s update of the ATP Rankings.

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