Romanian Adrian Ungur booked his place in the title match at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals after defeating Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-1 on Friday in Sao Paulo.
Ungur broke Bedene to take the set lead and lost just 15 points total in the second set, closing out the victory in one hour and 15 minutes.
“I made a lot of unforced errors in the beginning,” he said. “I wasn’t relaxed, I don’t know what happened. But then I managed to turn it around. I feel much better than yesterday. You always feel good when you win.”
Ungur, 27, had emerged as the leader of the Green Group this week after recording wins over Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo and Guido Pella in his first two round-robin matches. He will be contesting his seventh final (1-5 record) on the ATP Challenger Tour this season.
“I’m really happy. To be honest, I didn’t expect it,” he admitted. “I wanted to play three matches and see what happens. And now I’m in the final.”
Ungur will next face a rematch with Pella, whom he prevailed against in a third set tie-break on Wednesday after two hours and 27 minutes.
“It'll be equally difficult,” said Pella, looking ahead to the final. “He’s been playing well and showed it today beating Bedene easily. I believe he’ll play the same way as the last match. He has a fantastic backhand and it will give me a lot of trouble. All finals are tough and whoever plays better wins the title.”
The 22-year-old Argentine prevented an all-Romanian final in Sao Paulo with a 7-6(3), 6-2 victory over Victor Hanescu, the winner of the Yellow Group. Pella dropped serve once and broke Hanescu three times from nine opportunities.
Pella has a 3-0 record in ATP Challenger Tour finals in 2012, winning titles in Salinas, Manta and Campinas, and has an opportunity to break into the Top 100 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings with a victory Saturday.
“I wasn't thinking so much about it, although it’s an important goal,” he said. “I managed to get through the group stages and now whatever happens, it’s good for me. I’m really enjoying playing this tournament since the first day. I’ll try to win tomorrow to get into the Top 100.”