Monfils to face Berdych
Defending champion Gael Monfils saved a match point to edge second seed Gilles Simon 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 and reach the Open Sud de France final on Saturday. Monfils will meet top seed Tomas Berdych, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 6-4. Simon rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the final set, leveling at 4-4, but he dropped serve again to lose the all-French match. “It’s not easy to outmaneuver Gilles,” Monfils told Sport Plus television. “I tried to be aggressive. I missed some shots in the beginning, but that’s what made a bit of the difference in the end.” Berdych will chase his first title since winning the China Open in October last year.
Lacko reaches first ATP final
Lukas Lacko of Slovakia reached his first ATP final when he ousted 2007 champion Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) in the Zagreb Indoors semi-finals on Saturday. Lacko, playing on the tour since 2007, will face third seed Mikhail Youzhny, who will appear in his 18th career final. Youzhny defeated Michael Berrer of Germany 6-3, 6-4 and will seek his eighth title. Lacko has beaten three seeded players in Zagreb. He broke Baghdatis for 6-5, then easily closed the first set. Baghdatis responded aggressively and was two points away from a 5-1 lead in the second, but Lacko recovered to draw even, force a tiebreaker and win it.
Monaco, Berlocq to face off
Juan Monaco and Carlos Berlocq will meet in an all-Argentina final at the Vina Del Mar VTR Open in Chile. Top seed Monaco defeated France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Saturday, while No. 7 Berlocq beat fellow Argentine — and the No. 2 seed — Juan Ignacio Chela 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. The tournament is the first in a month-long swing of clay-court events across Latin America. It will be the first ATP final for Berlocq. Monaco has won three times on the ATP Tour.
Levin stretches his lead
Spencer Levin stretched his lead at the Phoenix Open to six strokes on Saturday, carding a three-under 68 in the third round before the biggest crowd in the tournament’s history. A crowd of 173,210 turned out in ideal weather at the par-71 TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, breaking the record of 170,802 who attended the third round in 2008. Levin was five shots ahead after completion of the second round on Saturday morning, after darkness halted play in Friday’s fog-delayed round. In the third round he notched four birdies and one bogey for a 17-under total of 196. His bogey on the par-five 15th was his first since the opening hole of the event. Fellow American Webb Simpson had six birdies and three bogeys in his 68 for an 11-under total of 206.
Lawrie leads, despite penalty
Former champion Paul Lawrie took a one-shot lead into the final round of the Qatar Masters on Saturday, despite incurring a penalty on the 10th hole when he “accidentally” dropped his ball on his marker. Nobody saw the marker move and Lawrie himself was sure it had not, but nevertheless had to take the one-stroke penalty. “There are so many rules, it’s impossible to get them perfect,” Lawrie said. “It was an accident, I was not trying to gain any advantage.” Despite the setback, Lawrie went on to birdie the next hole and picked up two more shots for an eight-under 136 aggregate to lead Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts by a shot.