The 20-year-old, who had never advanced past the second round at a tour-level event before this week, played with great variety throughout, using the drop shot to good effect to advance in one hour and 50 minutes.
“I tried to take more time with my game,” Gaston said. “I made a lot of mistakes in the first set, so I tried to change my game. My serve was better in the second and third set. I am really happy to be in the final. It is going to be a good match, but I will try and enjoy [this] moment.”
It is the third match in a row where Gaston has won the deciding set, having saved four match points in the final set tie-break against fourth-seeded Chilean Cristian Garin in the quarter-finals.
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Gaston has now claimed 18 clay-court wins at all levels this season, reaching ATP Challenger Tour finals at the Concord Iasi Open and the Roma Garden Open I. The World No. 155 will face either third seed Casper Ruud or Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva in the championship match.
After breaks were exchanged at the start of the first set, Djere took control. He returned with great depth as Gaston struggled on serve, winning just 44 per cent (8/18) of his first-service points. Djere broke three times in the set to move ahead. The match changed in the second set though, with Gaston not dropping a point behind his first serve (12/12) in the set as he started to disrupt Djere’s rhythm with his variety of shots to level.
Gaston continued to defend well in the third set, chasing down every ball as he frustrated Djere. He broke twice in the final set to seal victory. Gaston becomes the youngest Gstaad finalist since 2006, when a then 20-year-old Richard Gasquet lifted the title.
Djere has claimed 20 tour-level victories this season, which equals his best return in a year having notched the same amount in 2019. The Serbian was aiming to reach his second ATP Tour final of the season on Saturday, having advanced to the championship match at the Sardegna Open (l. to Sonego) in April.