Croatian Marin Cilic maintained his impressive run of form at the Marseille Open by qualifying for the final with a hard-fought 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 over Russian Mikhail Youzhny on Saturday.
Cilic, 22, had coasted into the semi-finals with a convincing victory over Czech Tomas Berdych and had the measure of Youzhny from the early stages, breaking the Russian's serve at the outset.
It gave the big-serving Croat the impetus he needed to claim the first set with relative ease.
Youzhny, the number three seed, turned the tables in the second, the Russian tightening his service game and proving more resilient on his return of serve.
A series of unforced errors and a dip in Cilic's service game allowed Youzhny to pull ahead, win the set and tie the match.
Cilic and Youzhny both lifted their game for the decider, the Russian gaining the psychological edge when he broke the Croat at 2-2.
However Youzhny spurned the chance to take the win when Cilic saved match point at 5-3, the Croat going on to pull level at 5-5 and then winning the next two games to seal the match.
In Sunday's final Cilic will meet the winner of the other semi-final between big-serving Swede Robin Soderling, the number one seed, and Russian Dmitry Tursunov, who is ranked 129th in the world.