Martin Klizan completed a second successive escape at the Rotterdam World Tennis, beating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 on Saturday to reach the final after saving three match points.
The Slovak had already saved five match points in the previous round to defeat Robert Bautista Agut.
Klizan will bid for the trophy on Sunday when he plays either German Philipp Kohlschreiber or French fifth seed Gael Monfils.
The Slovak is riding a run of form after playing in last week’s Sofia semi-final following a 0-3 start to the season, uncomfortably changing racquets and then going back to his former stick.
Klizan was playing in back-to-back semi-finals for the first time in his career.
“It was almost impossible for me to win this match,” the Slovak said. “Nicolas was serving so well.
“Into the second set, his level was so much higher than mine. All I could do was keep trying and have fun. I hope it helped.
“I was really lucky today to get the win. It’s great to be in my first 500-level final, I’ll be ready for it.”
Klizan lost the opening set in 46 minutes as the 34-year-old Mahut rained down 11 aces.
He then went down a break in the seventh game of the second set but levelled for 5-5, which he celebrated with an acrobatic somersault.
As the set went into a tiebreaker, his level rose, saving match points and taking the tight contest into a third set on a passing winner.
In the final set, the Slovak took command with a break to start and added another for a 4-1 margin. He erupted in joy after advancing on his own second match point.
The 26-year-old, ranked 43rd with three career titles, will be appearing in the fourth final of his career. – Agence France-Presse