Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia eliminated two-time finalist Tim Henman of Britain 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (5) on Friday in the Qatar Open and reached his second career ATP final.
In today's final, Ljubicic will meet French wild card Nicolas Escude, who eased past eighth-seeded Agustin Calleri of Argentina 6-2, 6-3.
Ljubicic fired 11 aces against seventh-seeded Henman, and overcame two rain delays in 2 hours, 39 minutes of exhilarating tennis to play in his first final since winning the title in Lyon, France in 2001.
"I am probably playing my best tennis," Ljubicic said. "It is a beautiful feeling to have qualified for my second ATP final and that too after a great match with Tim.
"It was a close match and any one of us could have won it. I feel my match against Tim has prepared me well for the final tomorrow. I hope I can carry on the good work."
Henman had been a Doha finalist in 1997 and 1999, and had won nine consecutive matches on tour.
It will be Escude's sixth career final, and he'll be aiming for a fourth title.
The Czech pair of Martin Damm and Cyril Suk retained the doubles title 6-2, 6-4 over Andy Roddick of the US and Stefan Koubek of Austria.
Damm and Suk, seeded third, won US$54,000, while Roddick and Koubek, a first-time pair and unseeded, became richer by US$31,000.
French qualifier Michael Llodra upset fifth-seeded Taylor Dent of the US 6-3, 7-5 Saturday to advance to the final of the AAPT Australian men's hardcourt championships.
Llodra will play another unseeded player, Slovakian Dominik Hrbaty, in Sunday's final. Hrbaty earlier beat sixth-seeded Jarrko Nieminen of Finland 6-4, 6-2.
Neither finalist has dropped a set at the tournament.
After a series of close line calls in the second match, a frustrated Dent accused umpire Fergus Murphy of ``costing me the match'' after he dropped serve to give Llodra a 6-5 lead. Dent refused to shake hands with Murphy after the match.
Llodra's previous success on the ATP circuit has been limited to doubles. He and countryman Fabrice Santoro were ranked No. 5 in last year's ATP doubles race.
"It is hard to play against Dent," Llodra said. "He puts a lot of pressure on you and you have to be very confident. My returns and my passing shots were very good."
"When I arrived here I just wanted to play as many games as I could. I did not know I would be in the final. Tomorrow will be a big day for me ... I have nothing to lose."
Hrbaty and Llodra have met once before, in St. Petersburg in 2001. Llodra won that first-round match in straight sets.
The US, featuring James Blake and Lindsay Davenport, won the Hopman Cup team tennis championship for the second year in a row Saturday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Slovakia in the deciding mixed doubles.
Lindsay Davenport put the US on track for back-to-back titles with a 6-3, 6-1 singles win over Daniela Hantuchova. Slovakia's Karol Kucera came from 3-0 down in the deciding set to beat James Blake 4-6, 6-4 7-6 (5), leveling the final at 1-1.
Blake, who teamed with Serena Williams to win the tournament last year, and Davenport dominated in mixed doubles before a capacity crowd of 8,500 at the indoor Burswood Dome to give the Americans a 2-1 edge in the final.
Former Australian Open champion Davenport hit 12 aces and beat Hantuchova in 51 minutes. It was Blake's first singles loss in the tournament this year.