Mayer to defend Hamburg title in final vs Georgian qualifier

Argentina's Leonardo Mayer hits a backhand during his semifinal match against Josef Kovalik at the ATP tennis tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 28, 2018. (Frank Molter/dpa via AP)

HAMBURG, Germany — Leonardo Mayer of Argentina reached the German Championships final for the third time in five years after saving a match point on Saturday.

Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia will face Mayer in his first ATP final after winning a semifinal lasting nearly four hours.

Mayer beat Slovak qualifier Jozek Kovalik 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (7) in their nearly three-hour semi.

Mayer had the only break of serve in the match early in the second set.

Kovalik had match point at 6-5 in the deciding tiebreaker but took a deep return from Mayer and netted a forehand. Mayer prevailed five points later.

His only two ATP titles were won on the same Hamburg clay in 2014 and 2017.

In the final he meets another qualifier, Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

Basilashvili beat Nicolas Jarry of Chile 7-5, 0-6, 6-1 a day after Jarry toppled top-seeded Dominic Thiem.

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