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Stockholm Open: Tommy Paul into first ATP final, plays Shapovalov


Tommy Paul reached his first ATP Tour final by outlasting fellow American Francis Tiafoe at the Stockholm Open on Friday.

With a 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win, the 24-year-old Paul followed up his victory over Andy Murray in the quarterfinals in what is proving to be a breakthrough tournament for the former junior French Open champion.

โ€œThat was the best level Iโ€™ve played all year long,” Paul said after his comeback win that took 2 hours, 30 minutes.

To claim his first senior title, Paul will have to get past defending champion Denis Shapovalov, who won an all-Canadian semifinal against Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5 in just under two hours.

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Shapovalov won the title in Stockholm in 2019, and the 2020 edition was cancelled after the coronavirus outbreak.

Tiafoe was looking to reach his second final in three tournaments โ€” after the Erste Bank Open in Vienna two weeks ago โ€” by recording a fourth straight win over Paul since their days in the juniors.

Paul finished the match stronger, though, chasing down a drop shot for a winner on his fourth breakpoint to make it 2-1 in the third set and then losing just two of his next 16 service points.

โ€œI tried to have fun, and I ended up playing my best tennis,โ€ said Paul, who was born in New Jersey. “The more matches Iโ€™ve played, the more comfortable Iโ€™ve played in pressure situations. Iโ€™ve enjoyed playing in front of the big crowds.โ€

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