Alejandro Davidovich Fokina felt a bathroom break was key to him reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final following a battling win over Grigor Dimitrov.
The unseeded Spaniard eventually saw off the Bulgarian 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and 43 minutes to continue his remarkable week in the principality, and will now go on to face the winner of Saturday's other semi-final which sees Stefanos Tsitsipas take on Alexander Zverev.
Speaking after his win, Davidovich Fokina said: "I am so happy to be in the final, it’s a dream come true to try to have the title.
‘I believe that’ – Dimitrov still believes he can win a Grand Slam
14/06/2022 AT 13:54
"When I was a kid I was dreaming about this day and it’s come true, I’m so happy.
“In the second set I had my chances, I was so tight. But I went to the bathroom [after the second set] and I said to myself 'I want this'.
"Now I am in the final I will enjoy, I have all the power with me.”
Even before reaching the final, Davidovich Fokina had already made headlines in Monte Carlo by beating not just Novak Djokovic in the second round
, but also seeing off Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals.
Dimitrov had himself been back to something approaching his best prior to this match-up, seeing off Miami finalist Casper Ruud and 11th seed Hubert Hurkacz in his run to the last four.
But the Bulgarian couldn't live with his opponent in the first set, with Davidovich Fokina getting the early break and taking the set 6-4 without facing any danger on his own serve. Indeed that was to prove the key to the match, with the Spaniard landing 78% of his first serves, compared to Dimitrov's 53%.
In the second set Dimitrov forced an early break but Davidovich Fokina embarked on a run of four straight games to give himself the chance to serve for the match at 5-4, however nerves seemed to get the better of him, allowing Dimitrov to level at 5-5 - and eventually force a decider on a tie break.
The third set - following Davidovich Fokina's bathroom pep talk - followed a similar pattern as Dimitrov found the early break, before the Spaniard once again - with the help of some underarm serving at 0-2 down - roared back, taking six of the next seven games to land the victory, sealing it - fittingly - with an ace, before celebrating raucously with his team courtside.
- - -
Stream the 2022 French Open live and on-demand on discovery+
'Such a tough opponent' - Norrie knocked out by Dimitrov in Queen's first round
13/06/2022 AT 16:32
Highlights: Dimitrov cruises past Giron in French Open first round
22/05/2022 AT 14:18