Nikoloz Basilashvili is on fire. The 24-year-old from the Republic of Georgia won three matches last week in Sofia – including a Top 10 win over Dominic Thiem – before cruising into the finals of the Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster without dropping a set.
In Saturday’s semifinal, Basilashvili was able to get past another in-form player, indoor specialist Mikhail Kukushkin, 7-6, 6-1. For the second day in a row, Basilashvili credited his fitness for the win.
“I think he was playing great but I played really well on the break points and the whole match I didn’t lose any energy,” Basilashvili said.
After taking a back-and-forth first set in a tiebreaker, Basilashvili faced break points early in the second set before breaking Kukushkin for a 2-0 lead.
“I started again with break points down but I’m not losing any concentration,” Basilashvili said. “If I’m down, I keep coming back.”
A relatively obscure player on Tour, Basilashvili was ranked 120 in the world one year ago but will rise to the doorstop of the Top 50 with his results in Memphis. In order to capture his first career title, however, American Ryan Harrison stands in the way. The two have never played before.
“Playing against an American in this country, the fans are going to be supporting him,” Basilashvili said. “It’s interesting but I’m going to go on court tomorrow and enjoy it.”