Fognini, Gasquet enter Swedish Open final

(180203) -- ALBERTVILLE, Feb. 3, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Richard Gasquet of France hits a return during the second match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands at Davis Cup First Round between France and the Netherlands in Albertville, France, Feb. 2, 2018. Richard Gasquet won 3-1. (Xinhua/David Richard)

Italian third seed Fabio Fognini and fourth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France advanced to the final of the Swedish Open here on Saturday.

Fognini defeated fifth seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. Fognini, the World No 15, needed only two hours and 17 minutes to earn his third win over Verdasco, the World No 33, in their seventh career match, reported Efe.

Verdasco rallied from a set down to draw level, and again fought to come back from a 4-2 deficit in the decider, only to lose the match a few games later.

In his 16th career final, Fognini will face world No 29 Gasquet, who beat world No 148, Switzerland’s henri Laaksonen 6-2, 6-3.

Gasquet needed just one hour and 12 minutes to defeat world Laaksonen, reaching his 31st career final and his third of 2018.

Gasquet won the Libema Open title on June 17, after having lost the Open Sud de France championship match to countryman Lucas Pouille on Feb. 11.

Gasquet has won two of his previous three encounters with Fognini, although the Italian player won their most recent clash in the 2013 Monte Carlo Masters quarter-final.