It’s been an unexpectedly successful week for Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, who advanced to his first final here in Houston Saturday afternoon with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 win over American wild card Ernesto Escobedo.
“I didn’t have too many expectations,” the No.8 seed said. “I didn't expect to play this well because I came Sunday night and only practiced once before the first round.”
It hasn’t been an easy road for the No.8 seed thus far. Bellucci needed three sets to win all four of his matches, spending nearly eight hours on court. He is the first player to reach the final here having played four consecutive three-set matches since David Wheaton in 1990.
This is the 29-year-old’s first time competing at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship. The last player to make the final in his Houston debut was Nicolas Almagro in 2013.
Bellucci will face No.4 seed Steve Johnson in the championship match.
The 27-year-old American notched a second career win over compatriot Jack Sock, needing three sets and nearly two hours to do so.
Their semifinal bout was the the 15th three-setter of the event, the most since the tournament made the switch from a 56 to a 32-player draw in 1988.
“This is great. It’s my first final on U.S. soil.”
Johnson is through to his third ATP World Tour final, and first in Houston.