#NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils advanced to his maiden tour-level final on Friday at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, where he clawed past Brandon Nakashima 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5).
In a semi-final thriller, the 18-year-old Frenchman overcame heavy hitting from the American and cramp deep in the third set to earn the biggest win of his career after two hours and 54 minutes.
Fils, who is making his debut in Lyon, struck the ball with aggression throughout his first ATP Head2Head meeting against Nakashima. The wild card recovered from squandering a match point at 5-4 in the third set and also overcame cramp to reach his first tour-level final.
“It is amazing,” Fils said. “I am really happy with the win today. It was a tough match against a really good opponent. I am looking forward to the next match.”
Fils has enjoyed a breakthrough season on the ATP Tour, having advanced to semi-finals on home soil in Montpellier and Marseille. With his victory against Nakashima, Fils has climbed one spot to fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race. He will face Francisco Cerundolo in the final.
The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Nakashima was aiming to reach his first championship match of the season at the ATP 250 clay-court event. The 21-year-old defeated Diego Schwartzman, Arthur Rinderknech and Tommy Paul en route to the last four.
Earlier, Cerundolo reached his first tour-level final of the season when he defeated defending champion Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-0.
The Argentine was in control throughout the 73-minute clash. The fourth seed opened his shoulders to hit his explosive groundstrokes with power to improve to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Norrie, who beat Cerundolo en route to the Lyon title last year.
“I think I played one of the best matches of the season,” Cerundolo said. “Yesterday I started not that well and finished really well and that gave me a lot of confidence and today I showed it. I am super happy because it was a tough match. Cam is a great player and I think I played amazingly and I am happy to be in the final.”
Cerundolo is seeking his second tour-level trophy this week, having captured the trophy in Bastad last year. The 24-year-old is up one spot to No. 27 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings following his 20th tour-level win of the season.
Norrie was aiming to reach his third consecutive final in Lyon, having lost against Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2021 before defeating Alex Molcan last year.