Monaco to face Granollers in Valencia Open final

Argentina's Juan Monaco beat defending champion David Ferrer of Spain 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 on Saturday to reach the Valencia Open final.

Monaco will face fellow unseeded player Marcel Granollers of Spain, who beat sixth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 7-6 (4) to advance to his second consecutive final in Valencia.

The top-seeded Ferrer started strong, breaking Monaco's first service game with a combination of deep groundstrokes and timely approaches to the net.

Down 3-0, Monaco saved three break points in the fourth game, sparking a rally in which he broke Ferrer three times to take the opening set.

The fifth-ranked Ferrer cut down his errors and rediscovered his baseline game in the second set to force a third.

Ferrer appeared set to repeat last year's final appearance when he was up 2-0, but his serve deserted him and Monaco surged to claim the match.

"It was a match with a lot of ups and downs," said Monaco. "We have similar styles. He played a great second set, but I took advantage of a break and had some luck with his double faults in the final set."

Monaco improved to 4-3 all time against Ferrer.

"Tomorrow will be very tough," Monaco said. "Granollers beat me last year here in quarters and has played some great matches so far."

Del Potro started well on the indoor hard-court, but Granollers took control of their semifinal through his serve-and-volley game to win the first set.

In the second, Granollers saved a set point to force a tiebreaker and won six straight points to rally from 4-1 down to seal his place in the final.

Granollers had already beaten seventh-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round and third-seeded Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals.

"I didn't think about reaching the final," Granollers said. "I just focused on the game at hand. I am very happy with how the tournament is going."

The 34th-ranked Granollers, who won his second ATP title in July, lost to Ferrer in last year's all-Spanish final.

"He played a great match," said Del Potro. "He doesn't serve hard, but he hits good angles and adds different effects. I needed to play better."

Del Potro's exit meant Czech player Tomas Berdych locked up his place among the top eight players for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. With only the Paris Masters left as a qualifier, there are just two spots remaining for the season finale in London.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and American Mardy Fish currently are in seventh and eighth place, respectively, with Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and Del Potro still in striking distance.

"I will have to win in Paris to have a chance," Del Potro said.