Tomas Machac captured the biggest win of his career on Friday at the Gonet Geneva Open, where he upset World No 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 to reach his first ATP Tour final.
The Czech, who was competing in his maiden tour-level semi-final, moved freely and struck the ball well against Djokovic. In a roller-coaster match, Machac rallied from 1-4 to take the opening set only to get bageled by an improved Djokovic in the second set.
But after the Serbian won his seventh straight game in the opening game of the third, Machac won the final six games of the match to earn his second Top 10 win.
“I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac said on Friday. “When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like.”
Djokovic struggled physically at times and received a medical timeout at the end of the first set.
The 37-year-old, who was the oldest semi-finalist in tournament history, looked fresher in the second set and moved well, before he faded in the decider.
The 98-time tour-level titlist, who was aiming to reach his first final of the season, will head to Roland Garros where he faces Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round. Djokovic will try and maintain No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings in Paris, where Jannik Sinner can move to top spot. Machac, who defeated then-World No. 6 Andrey Rublev for his maiden Top 10 win in Miami in March, is up 10 spots to No. 34 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings following his two-hour, seven-minute win.
The 23-year-old hugged the baseline throughout his second Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with Djokovic, hitting with clean timing and consistent depth to hold his own in the baseline rallies. Machac then pounced when Djokovic struck the ball short, hitting 21 winners to become the first Czech to reach the Geneva final since Tomas Smid in 1987.
Machac will face two-time champion Casper Ruud or Italian Flavio Cobolli in the title match today.
“I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time,” Machac said.
Djokovic struggled behind his second serve in the match, winning just 34 per cent (11/32) of points on his second delivery, according to Infosys ATP Stats, as Machac took large cuts on return
The seven-time Nitto ATP Finals champion also looked breathless at times between points, performing slightly below his usual level during the clash.
In doubles action, third seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic set a final with Lloyd Glasspool and Jean-Julien Rojer.
Arevalo and Pavic, who reached the championship match in Rome last week, defeated Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski 6-4, 6-4.
In the other semi-final, Glasspool and Rojer clawed past Germans Constantin Frantzen and Hendrik Jebens 4-6, 6-3, 10-8. Glasspool and Rojer are chasing their second trophy of the season together, having won in Brisbane in January.
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