Monfils faces Ljubicic in final

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

MONTPELLIER, France -- Gael Monfils topped fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals of the Open Sud de France tennis event and will meet Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic in Sunday's final.

The third-seeded Monfils earned a 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4 triumph on Saturday after the fourth-seeded Ljubicic had earlier prevailed in a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) decision over Spain's Albert Montanes.

Monfils beat his countrymate for the first time in three all-time meetings. Tsonga, seeded second this week, had beaten Monfils in semifinals at Bangkok in 2008 and Tokyo last year.

Tsonga had won the first two meetings in straight sets, but Monfils made sure that wouldn't happen with a dominant tiebreak in the first set. He won the first five points of the tiebreaker to claim the set, but Tsonga broke serve twice in the second set. Monfils produced the only break of the third to advance to his third final of 2010.

The 24-year-old Monfils is 2-9 all-time in ATP finals, including 0-2 this year. He lost to Montanes in the Stuttgart final in July, retiring in the second set because of an ankle injury, and was beaten by Rafael Nadal in Tokyo three weeks ago. Monfils' last title came last year in Metz.

Ljubicic notched his 400th career Tour-level win in Friday's quarterfinals and on Sunday will try for his second title of 2010. He won the lucrative Indian Wells event back in March for his 10th career ATP singles title.

The 31-year-old Ljubicic is 10-12 all-time in ATP finals, winning this event last year and in 2001 when it was played in Lyon.

Montanes, who knocked off top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia in Friday's quarterfinals, lost his serve in the eighth game of the first set and Ljubicic held in the next game. The second set went to a tiebreaker and Ljubicic won each of his points on serve in the tiebreak.

Ljubicic ripped off 18 aces during the 77-minute match and won 91 percent of the points on his first serve.

Sunday will mark the seventh meeting between Ljubicic and Monfils. Ljubicic owns a 4-2 lead in the series, including a win in the previous matchup last year in Shanghai.


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