Kiefer semi-final triumph lands first title shot in three years
German Nicolas Kiefer reached his first final in three years with a fighting 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Gilles Simon on Saturday with a comeback performance at the Toronto Masters, dpa reported.
The 31-year-old Kiefer will have the chance on Sunday to claim a trophy after a dry spell of nearly a decade after winning the last of his six at Hong Kong in 2000.
He will play the winner from French Open and Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal and Britain's Andy Murray, who knocked out holder Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
Kiefer's victory in one minute under three hours brought an end to the nine-match winning streak of Simon, the number 23 who claimed last week's Indianapolis honours and beat Roger Federer in a huge Toronto second round upset.
"It was a very close match, it was not easy to play, anything can happen," said Kiefer, who attcked ferociously, resulting in nearly 50 winners but nearly a third more unforced errors. "All I could do was fight for every point. It was not easy, but it is a victory and that's what counts."
Fragile Frenchman Simon all but ran out of puff in the semis as his body felt the effects of the exertions of the past fortnight. He made things tight at the end with a break of the German in the eighth game, eventually forcing a tiebreaker, which Kiefer won.
Kiefer was overjoyed in victory after coming back from wrist surgeries over the last two years. He will vastly improve his number 37 ranking from Monday.
But Simon will not have to wait long to take his chance for revenge, with the pair drawn into the opening round of the Cincinnati Masters starting on Monday.
Kiefer, 31, heads into his first final since St Petersburg, 2005.
Kiefer won his last trophy at Hong Kong, 2000.
Kiefer was a Toronto semi-finalist four years ago, going out to Andy Roddick.