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June 27, 2017

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Del Potro, Zemlja reach Vienna final

VIENNA -- Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and qualifier Grega Zemlja advanced to the final of the Erste Bank Open Saturday.

A runner-up last year, Del Potro defeated Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) to reach his fourth final of the year, while Zemlja rallied to stun second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 and become the first Slovenian player in an ATP Tour final.

"I am a guy for history," said Zemlja, who also was his country's first player to qualify for a Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in 2009. "This is really something special and it makes me a happy man."

The 70th-ranked Zemlja was 0-4 against top-10 players. The Slovenian played 15 sets to get to the final, Del Potro seven.

In his 17th career final, Del Potro is looking for his 12th title and third of the season after winning in Marseille and Estoril. He has never played Zemlja before.

Del Potro is playing his first tournament since returning from a wrist injury that sidelined him for more than a month.

Del Potro said he was especially satisfied with his serve. He won all 38 service games this event, and in Wednesday's second round, Del Potro and Daniel Brands of Germany hit 30 and 32 aces respectively to set an all-time record for most aces in a best-of-three match.

His semifinal consisted mainly of short rallies and featured no breaks of serve. Del Potro converted his fourth match point with his 17th ace, while Zemlja had 16 aces.

It's his return that he needs to improve, Del Potro said.

Zemlja was on the brink of defeat against Tipsarevic after losing the opening set and trailing the Serb 3-1 in the second. He broke back and got the match under control.

Tipsarevic said he lost the match in the second set as he failed to build on his lead.

In the third set, Tipsarevic got medical treatment for an injury to his right shoulder, which has caused him problems in the past.

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