Jerzy Janowicz continued to be a thorn in the side of higher ranked opponents as he reached the Paris Masters final with a 6-4, 7-5 win over local favorite Gilles Simon on Saturday.
Polish qualifier Janowicz, who beat US Open champion Andy Murray in the third round, used his big serve and his magic touch to see off Simon and set up a meeting with Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer.
Ferrer, who is looking to clinch his maiden Masters title, dismissed France’s Michael Llodra 7-5, 6-3 in the other semi-final after saving 10 break points in the opening set.
Wildcard Llodra, who had won his 43 service games in the tournament heading into Saturday’s clash, took a medical timeout to have his back massaged while trailing 3-0 in the second set.
Ferrer wrapped it up with a cross-court forehand winner after one hour 50 minutes.
Earlier, world No. 69 Janowicz claimed his fifth top-20 scalp in Bercy.
The achievement has yet to sink in.
“For me I cannot believe this actually. How is this possible?” Janowicz told a news conference. “I came here just to play qualifications and suddenly after a few days I’m in the final. I don’t know how I did this but tomorrow the final is waiting for me. Wow.”
Janowicz, who did not face a single break point, broke the 20th ranked Simon in the fifth game with a booming service-return winner and comfortably held serve to claim the opening set with a forehand winner.
The Pole, who missed only three first serves in the first set, was less dominant in the second set.
Simon, however, fell 0-40 down in the 11th game and Janowicz sealed the decisive break with a drop shot winner.
He ended the contest with yet another drop shot winner on his second match point and immediately started sobbing as he collapsed to his knees before hitting the court with his hand in apparent disbelief.
“I still need some time to relax a little bit, to think about this match, to accept this situation,” he said.
“Right now I’m in the final. After this match point, I just fell down and I was crying almost like a baby. Big baby,” added Janowicz, who stands at 2.03m.
Janowicz could not go to this year’s Australian Open because he did not have enough money. In January, he could well be seeded for the season’s opening Grand Slam since he is projected to break into the ATP’s top 30 when the new rankings are released today.
Janowicz can now expect to attract some sponsors, especially since TV crews have been besieging his house in Poland.
“The street next to my house actually is completely blocked. There is like about nine or 10 cars, TVs, and it’s completely blocked. There is no way to get to my house right now,” Janowicz said. “So I think after this final I have a chance to find some really good sponsors and I will not have to worry about the money.”