Top-seeded Ferrer, Johnson advance to final in Vienna
VIENNA — Top-seeded David Ferrer beat Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (5), 7-5 at the Erste Bank Open on Saturday to reach his fifth final of the season.
Ferrer will play Steve Johnson of the United States for the title. The 47th-ranked American beat Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 7-6 (4) to advance to his maiden ATP final.
The eighth-ranked Ferrer, who is 4-0 in finals this season, is after his 26th career title. Last year he was beaten by Andy Murray in the final here.
Ferrer and Johnson have not played each other before. The American has a 0-9 record against top-10 players.
The first set between Ferrer and Monfils went with serve before the Spaniard won the tiebreaker by converting his fourth set point.
Monfils then allowed the only break of the game after hitting three straight double-faults at 5-5 in the second set. Ferrer converted his first match point in the next game.
After losing three semifinals in his career, the 25-year-old Johnson became the first American to reach the final here since Pete Sampras, who went on to win the title in 1998.
Johnson, who had 12 aces, led Gulbis 6-3, 4-3 when he lost serve on the only break point he faced in the entire match. He closed out the win on his second match point in the tiebreaker.