DALLAS — Wu Yibing became the first Chinese player to reach an ATP Tour final, rallying for a three-set victory over top-seeded American Taylor Fritz in the Dallas Open.
Wu will play John Isner, who also won after dropping the first set and advanced to the final of his hometown event with a victory over fellow American J.J. Wolf.
Wu won 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4 and survived all nine break points he faced, including five when down a set and trailing 2-1 in the second. Fritz had 20 aces to Wu’s six, but Wu capitalized on two of his four break chances.
“I think serving nine break points is more tough than winning a match again him,” Wu said. “I just stayed patient because I know I’m very solid with the baseline so there’s no rush. When I have a break point, I go for some big shots.”
Wu broke Fritz to take a 6-5 lead in the second set before breaking the eighth-ranked Fritz, highest among Americans, for a 3-2 lead in the deciding set.
Fritz, who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon but was coming off a disappointing second-round exit at the Australian Open, had only been broken once in the tournament before facing Wu.
Wu made history last summer as the first Chinese man to reach the third round of the U.S. Open, doing so as a qualifier. The unseeded 23-year-old is seeking his first title, with Isner going for his 17th.
Isner, who became the first tour player with 500 career victories in tiebreakers in the quarterfinals, outlasted Wolf 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) to clinch a spot in his 31st career final.
The big-serving Isner was broken for the first time in the tournament when Wolf took a 4-2 lead in the opening set.
Isner overcame three break points at 2-2 in the second set, and Isner broke to force the deciding set when Wolf double-faulted. Isner had 31 aces to Wolf’s 14 and saved seven of eight break points.
“I saved a lot of break points with unreturnable serves,” Isner said. “Without that I would have been dusted off the court 6-3, 6-4. So I’m of course very fortunate to have that weapon in my pocket, and I needed every bit of it today.”
The 24-year-old Wolf was playing in his second career semifinal after reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open, which propelled to a career-best ranking of 43rd.
Isner, who lives a few blocks from the venue on the SMU campus, reached the semifinals of the inaugural Dallas Open last year, losing to eventual champion Reilly Opelka in a match that included the longest tiebreaker in tour history (24-22).