Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko overcame a sloppy first set to beat No 3 Robin Soderling of Sweden 1-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2 Saturday to set up a Malaysia Open final against Fernando Verdasco.
The second-seeded Verdasco beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-4, 7-5 to reach his third ATP final of the year.
Davydenko struggled with unforced errors in the first set, winning just one point on his second serve as Soderling broke twice. However, the Russian got his serve under control in the second as the players broke once apiece before Davydenko dominated the tiebreaker.
He then capitalized on the Swede's poor serve in the decider, breaking twice to snap a four-match losing streak to Soderling. In their last meeting in the U.S. Open, Davydenko had to retire during the fourth-round match because of a leg injury.
"Soderling had good serves and good returns," Davydenko said. "After a few games, he started losing concentration. It was not easy as he kept fighting back for every point, but I'm surprised to have won."
Davydenko has a 5-1 record against Verdasco, including a second-round win at the French Open this year.
"I like to win for sure but I never have the feeling that I already won the tournament," Davydenko said. "You will never know what will happen in the final."
Verdasco is looking for his second title of the year after winning in New Haven. He had his best performance of the tournament against Gonzalez, saving all three break points he faced. "I'm improving every day and hope to play better tomorrow," he said.