Sydney:David Nalbandian reached his 20th ATP Tour final with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the Sydney International semifinals on Friday.
The 27-year-old Argentine, who has nine tour titles and was a runner-up at Wimbledon in 2002, will face either top-seeded Novak Djokovic or Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in Saturday's final.
Nalbandian overpowered Gasquet, hitting backhand winners down the line and attacking the Frenchman's second serve.
The Argentine won nine straight points to close out the first set and open a break in the second.
Gasquet broke back in the sixth game of the second set, helped by a between-the-legs shot from behind the baseline that he turned into a winner. Even Nalbandian applauded the shot.
But the comeback didn't last. Nalbandian broke again to take a 4-3 lead and, after wasting three match points from 0-40 on Gasquet's serve in the ninth game, he converted on his fourth.
Gasquet didn't help himself, giving Nalbandian triple match point with a double-fault and a fourth match point with another.
Djokovic, who got a wild-card entry for Sydney after losing his first match at Brisbane last week, had a 6-3, 6-4 win over Croatia's Mario Ancic in a rain-interrupted quarterfinal late Wednesday.
The defending Australian Open champion was drawn earlier Friday into the same side as Roger Federer for the season's first major, and in the same quarter as Nalbandian.
The 21-year-old Serbian had an upset win over then top-ranked Federer in the Australian Open semifinals last year.
A semifinal win at Sydney on Friday would give Djokovic enough points to overhaul Federer for the No. 2 position when rankings are released Monday to coincide with the start of the Australian Open.
The all-Russian women's final later Friday will be a reprise of the Beijing Olympics final, with gold medalist Elena Dementieva against silver medalist Dinara Safina.
Dementieva beat top-seeded Serena Williams 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday.