October 6, 2018 / 4:02 PM / in 2 months

Tennis: Basilashvili sets up Beijing showdown with Del Potro

Tennis - China Open - Men's Singles - Semifinals - National Tennis Center, Beijing, China - October 6, 2018. Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in action against Kyle Edmund of Britain. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

(Reuters) - Unseeded Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Briton Kyle Edmund 7-6(6) 6-4 in the China Open semi-finals on Saturday to set up a title clash with top seed Juan Martin del Potro.

Basilashvili sent down seven aces and won 78 percent of points on his powerful first serve to prevail in 98 minutes and move into Sunday’s title clash, where he faces Argentine Del Potro for the second time in his career.

World number four Del Potro had earlier advanced to the final after his semi-final opponent Fabio Fognini pulled out of the contest in Beijing because of ankle pain.

Edmund, who had beaten world number 34 Basilashvili in both their previous meetings, wasted the opportunity to claim the opening set after taking a 5-4 lead.

Basilashvili clawed his way back to drag the set into a tie-break, which he won. The Georgian switched gears in the second set and made full use of his big hitting to break Edmund for a third time in the match and close out the win.

The Hamburg champion, who is looking for his second title of the season, was beaten in three sets by Del Potro in their only meeting in the Shanghai Masters last year.

Reporting by Neil Robinson

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