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Garcia-Lopez Reaches First ATP World Tour Final

Kitzbühel, Austria

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez© Gepa/OsterauerGuillermo Garcia-Lopez advances to his first ATP World Tour final.

Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will contest his first ATP World Tour singles final at the Interwetten Austrian Open Kitzbuhel on Saturday against French lucky loser Julien Benneteau. It will be the pair’s second meeting. Benneteau won their 2006 Australian Open second round clash.

World No. 74 Garcia-Lopez defeated seventh-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(5) in two hours and 24 minutes. Despite winning four fewer points (89 vs. 93), Garcia-Lopez improved to 11-10 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season. It was the third time 25-year-old Garcia-Lopez had beaten Youzhny on a clay court, after wins at 2006 Hamburg and 2008 Gstaad.

Youzhny, who hit five aces and converted two of four break point opportunities, dropped to 16-12 this year. He was attempting to reach his 10th ATP World Tour final. Earlier this month the World No. 46 finished runner-up at Munich (l. to Berdych). He has also made quarter-final exits at Rotterdam (l. to Ancic) and Marseille (l. to Llodra).

Benneteau became the second lucky loser in three weeks to reach an ATP World Tour final. Two weeks ago Polish lucky loser Lukasz Kubot lost in the Belgrade final to Novak Djokovic.

Benneteau, who was awarded a spot in the main draw when Nicolas Devilder withdrew due to an ankle injury earlier in the week, improved to 3-1 lifetime against Oscar Hernandez of Spain with a 6-3, 6-4 victory in 90 minutes. The 27-year-old Benneteau will appear in his third ATP World Tour singles final on Saturday. He lost in the 2008 Casablanca (l. to Simon) and Lyon (l. to Soderling) finals.

The World No. 45 improved to 12-12 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season, highlighted by two quarter-final exits at Rotterdam (l. to Monfils) and Marseille (l. to Simon).

Hernandez, 31, dropped to 11-15 on the year. The World No. 64 was appearing in his first ATP World Tour semi-final since July 2008 at Amersfoort (l. to Montanes).

Andrei Pavel and Horia Tecau advanced to the doubles final by winning their third consecutive match tie-break. The Romanians rallied from a set down for the second consecutive match to defeat Austrians Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer 6-7(1), 6-3, 15-13.

In the final Pavel and Tecau will meet second-seeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa, who have not dropped a set this week. Melo and Sa defeated Christopher Kas and Alexander Peya 6-4, 6-0.


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