French qualifier Mathieu beats Almagro in 2 sets in Kitzbuehel to reach 1st final in 6 years

French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu defeated Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-4, 6-3 at the Generali Open on Friday to reach his first ATP final in six years.

Looking for his fifth career title, Mathieu will play top-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria or Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in Saturday's final.

Mathieu played his last of eight finals in Hamburg in 2009, two years after winning his last title in Gstaad. He is the first qualifier in the Open Era to reach the final of the clay-court event in Kitzbuehel.

Almagro dropped his serve for a second time at 5-4 in the opening set following a dispute with a ballboy, who he judged too slow. He then lost the first four games of the second set.