Lopez and Robert reach final
Originally published on: 26/02/10 13:04
Arguably the bigger upset came in Saturday’s first semi-final when Robert eased past 18th-ranked David Ferrer 7-5 6-4.
But that was followed by Lopez battling hard to topple world number 13 Gael Monfils in three sets – 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7/1).
Ferrer, a semi-finalist last year, struggled to settle against the base-line play of a man ranked 82 places below him at 100.
Robert was particularly impressive on his first serve in the opening set, winning 19 out of 24 points.
He then wore down his second-seeded opponent in the second set with two breaks of serve to one, which helped him close out the win in one hour 36 minutes.
Top seed Monfils would have been expecting an all-French final after cruising to victory in the first set – 11 aces clearly aiding his cause.
But Lopez had other ideas and started the second set in dominant style, dropping just one game.
The final set went on serve right through to the tie-break.
And Monfils, who had previously not lost a set all week in Johannesburg, looked out of it from the outset. He won just a single point as Lopez stormed into the final.