TOKYO, Japan -- Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and fifth-seeded Gael Monfils will face off for the Japan Open title after both won their respective semifinal matchups on Saturday.
The top-seeded Nadal played as close a match as possible, barely beating Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (9-7) in a battle that took over 2 1/2 hours.
Nadal will play in his eighth final of the year, having won six of his previous seven, including victories at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The Spaniard beat Troicki for the fourth time in as many matchups.
Monfils, meanwhile, disposed of Czech Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour. Looking for his first title of the year, Monfils is looking up at steep odds, having beaten Nadal just once in seven meetings.
Not only is there a disparity in the head-to-head record, but the total of career titles also separates the players greatly. While Monfils is looking for the third tournament win of his career, Nadal is going for championship No. 43.
The winner between the two will take home $216,500.