AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Top-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer and sixth-seeded Argentine David Nalbandian will square off in Saturday's final at the $450,000 Heineken Open, a final Australian Open tune-up.
Ferrer, the 2007 Auckland titlist, got past Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 7-5, while Nalbandian dispatched second-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2 in Friday's semifinals at ASB Tennis Centre.
The gritty Ferrer has won six of the 11 matches he's played against Nalbandian, but the former Wimbledon runner-up Nalbandian has won the last three and four of their last five meetings.
Both men are playing at a high level heading into the first major of the year, and on Friday, both learned their first-round opponents in Melbourne. Ferrer, seeded seventh, will face Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in Melbourne, while the 27th-seeded Nalbandian drew heavy Australian crowd favorite Lleyton Hewitt.
The 28-year-old Ferrer will appear in his 20th career final (9-10) and was a two-time titlist and three-time runner-up in 2010.
Nalbandian, who turned 29 on New Year's Day, will seek his 12th career title in his 22nd final. He captured an event in Washington, DC in his lone final appearance last season.
Saturday's champion will receive $72,600.