Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
Event: Winston Salem
Round: First Round
Head-To-Head: Garcia-Lopez leads 4-0
Marcos completed a marathon Saturday at the Chengdu Open, claiming two match wins to reach his 14th tour-level final in dramatic fashion.
First, Marcos finished off Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2 in their rain-delayed quarterfinal. The match was suspended due to a torrential downpour with Marcos serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set. But there would be no rust as play resumed on Saturday afternoon. Marcos completed the win on his second match point.
But the work was not done. A semifinal encounter against Argentina's Guido Pella would follow and Marcos rebounded after a shaky start to prevail 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. He needed two hours and two minutes to secure the win, sealing a place in his first ATP World Tour final of the year and first since Dubai in February 2016.
"I feel great because I kept a very good level throughout the match," said Marcos. "Even in the first set, I think he was playing good and fast, but I was there. He broke me at 6-5, but I kept my level and that's what I'm happy about. I kept it for three sets and it's the first time I've done this since my injury. I'm happy that I'm improving and finding my movement and energy on court."
After dropping the first set against Pella, Marcos fought back to break immediately in the second and once more for 4-1. Two more breaks midway through the third set would be enough to taste victory. He would fire a service winner to book his spot in the final.
With comeback wins against Vasek Pospisil, Peter Gojowczyk and Pella, it marks just the second time in Marcos' career that he has rallied from a set down on three occasions in a tournament. He also did it in Zagreb in 2015.
Marcos will vie for his fifth ATP World Tour title and first in seven years when he faces Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin on Sunday. It will be their fourth meeting, tied at 2-2. Marcos claimed their lone previous final encounter at the 2009 Tashkent Challenger.
"My goal for the end of the year was to find my confidence. It doesn't come by clicking your fingers and needs some time. I'm happy with the way I'm playing and the level of these matches. I'm staying positive and looking forward to tomorrow's match. Istomin is a great player, serves well and plays pretty flat. But I want to keep this level and play the way I've been playing the last two matches. It's going to be a close match and a tough battle."