Argentina's Juan Monaco defeated Spain's Albert Montañes 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 Friday in the semifinals of the bet-at-home Cup in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and will square off against another Spaniard, Marcel Granollers, for the championship.
The 31st-ranked Argentine came on strong at the end of the first set to win the tiebreaker handily and then grab two early service breaks in the second set.
The No. 2 seed squandered a pair of chances to serve out the match as Montañes rallied to tie the score at 5-5, but he played his best tennis and took advantage of the Spaniard's errors to take the final two games and wrap up the contest in one hour and 50 minutes.
Monaco will play off for the title against the 53rd-ranked Granollers, who edged two-time defending champion Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 6-4 in Friday's other semifinal.
"It was a very hard match today in the semifinals," Granollers said afterward. "It was very hot, but in the end I was able to win. I'm happy to be in the final."
Monaco and Granollers will be facing each other Saturday for the first time since meeting in the final of a hard-court event in Valencia, Spain in 2011. Granollers won that match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3) and holds a 2-1 edge in their career head-to-head.
The Argentine, however, won their only previous meeting on clay, scoring a 6-4, 6-3 victory in an event in Warsaw in 2008.
This Austrian stop on the ATP Tour dates back to 1894, making it one of the oldest events in men's tennis. EFE