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Blake enters ATP tournament finals

James Blake books his finals berth at the ATP hardcourt tournament with a three-set victory over S Korean Lee Hyung-Taik.

sports Updated: Jul 22, 2007 12:43 IST

James Blake booked his finals berth at the $525,000 ATP hardcourt tournament in Los Angeles with a three-set victory over South Korean Lee Hyung-Taik.

Blake, the second-seeded American, shrugged off a shaky second set to post a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Lee on Saturday.

He will face Czech Radek Stepanek, who advanced on a walkover when 2004 finalist Nicolas Kiefer of Germany withdrew from the second semi-final with a knee injury.

Ranked ninth in the world, Blake is seeking his second title of the year and 10th of his career.

His other title this year came in January at Sydney.

Blake outlasted Lee in extremely hot conditions by firing 10 aces in the match that took just under two hours.

After an erratic second set, Blake bounced back in the third, breaking Lee's serve in the ninth game to take control.

Lee, playing his first semi-final of the year, was coming off a quarter-final triumph over former world No. 1 Marat Safin, seeded third.

Kiefer, who was sidelined for the second half of 2006 with a wrist injury, is seeking his first singles title since winning at Moscow in October 2005.

The 30-year-old German is 3-1 lifetime against Stepanek, who is making his first semi-final appearance of the year.