Pablo Andujar of Spain beat top-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4, 7-5 in Bucharest on Saturday to line up a Nastase Tiriac Trophy final against Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Andujar’s victory over the Argentine followed a 7-6 (3), 6-2 semi-finals win for Mayer over Italy’s Filippo Volandri.
Fourth-seeded Andujar seemed determined to exact revenge on Chela, who beat him in last year’s final.
By playing more aggressively and coming to the net more often, the Spaniard was able to make a spectacular comeback in the first set after trailing 4-1.
Chela broke to take a 3-2 lead in the second set and the match looked destined for a third, with the Argentine serving at 5-4. However, Andujar broke Chela’s service to level for 5-5, held serve to lead 6-5 and sealed his place in the final on his third match point.
In the other semi-final, Volandri broke Mayer’s service to take a 5-3 lead in the first set, but the German immediately hit back with a break of his own before serving out for 5-5. In the tiebreaker, Mayer took a 5-1 lead, helped by two aces and a double fault by Volandri, before wrapping up the set with another ace.
AP, METZ, FRANCE
Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic fired 26 aces on Saturday to edge Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) and reach the final of the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
Ljubicic will face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4.
Muller set the tone by sending down four aces in the opening game, but Ljubicic quickly caught up and the 2005 champion rallied from 3-2 down in the tiebreaker to take the first set.
Though Muller finished the match with 18 aces, he could not handle Ljubicic’s serve. He sent a backhand volley wide to give Ljubicic a match point that the fourth-seeded Croatian converted with an ace.
In the second semi-final, the top-seeded Tsonga broke serve at 5-4 in each set, clinching victory when Dolgopolov sent a forehand into the net.
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