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Harrison, Basilashvili advance to Memphis final

AFP logoAFP 19-02-2017
Nikoloz Basilashvili has continued his hot streak by rolling over Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 to reach the final of the ATP Tour's Memphis Open © Provided by AFP Nikoloz Basilashvili has continued his hot streak by rolling over Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 to reach the final of the ATP Tour's Memphis Open

American Ryan Harrison and Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, unseeded players seeking their first ATP titles, advanced to the Memphis Open final with straight-set triumphs.

Harrison, ranked 62nd, ousted compatriot Donald Young 6-4, 6-4 while Basilashvili, ranked a career-high 67th, won for the ninth time in 10 matches, downing Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (7/5), 6-1. The two finalists will meet for the first time.

Basilashvili defeated world number eight Dominic Thiem last week en route to the semi-finals in Sofia, where he lost to eventual champion Grigor Dimitrov.

The Georgian's only prior ATP final came in last July's Austrian Open, where he lost to Italy's Paolo Lorenzi.

Harrison had lost in all five prior ATP semi-final appearances, most recently in 2015 at Acapulco to Spain's David Ferrer.

Basilashvili blasted five aces, had no double faults and won 75 percent of his first-serve points to win in one hour, 46 minutes.

Red-hot Basilashvili scored the biggest upset of the tournament when he beat top seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

Kukushkin, ranked 103rd, reached his first semi-final since 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Harrison won 30 of 39 first-serve points and saved four of the five break points 81st-ranked left-hander Young managed, surrendering his serve only in the eighth game of the final set.

Young had routed Harrison on Houston clay in 2014 but retired against him in the third set of Harrison's 2015 Acapulco run.

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