Top seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia was set to meet big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada in the final of the Chennai Open after both players won in straight sets on Saturday.
Fourth seed Raonic served 17 aces, including three in the final game, to beat the 10th-ranked Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-4, 6-4 and reach the third final of his career.
In the second semi-final, Tipsarevic ended Japanese qualifier Go Soeda’s run with a 6- 1, 6-4 victory.
“It is an important day tomorrow [Sunday] because the recognition you get as a tour winner is different,” Raonic said of his first meeting with Tipsarevic. “I am going into the final with a positive frame of mind. I am happy with my service game and if I am able to create opportunity in returns, I know I stand a good chance to win tomorrow.”
The 21-year-old Raonic has risen from No. 156 in the rankings to a career-high 25th following a season in which he won the ATP Newcomer of the Year award.
His fourth victory against a top 10 player came after breaks in the seventh game of the first set and the ninth of the second.
“He played really well and he served like a monster,” said Almagro, who was aced 10 times in the opening set. “Over 80 percent success in the first set for sure. With that serve you have many, many chances to win a match.”
Tipsarevic broke his 120th-ranked opponent in the second and fourth games to clinch the opening set.
The gritty Japanese, who beat defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, put up a fight in the second with the pair trading breaks, but Tipsarevic broke in the seventh game to move into his eighth ATP Tour final.