Paris Masters - Ferrer to meet Janowicz in final

World number five David Ferrer booked his place in the Paris Masters final with a determined 7-5 6-3 win over Frenchman Michael Llodra.

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Paris Masters - Ferrer to meet Janowicz in final
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David Ferrer of Spain celebrates after winning his semi-final men's singles match against Michael Llodra of France at the Paris Masters

Ferrer will now face man-of-the-moment Jerzy Janowicz for the title, after the Polish qualifier beat Gilles Simon 6-4 7-5 in the earlier semi-final.

Ferrer, the only player who is still in action this week to have also qualified for next week’s World Tour Finals, was his usual stubborn self as he withstood a challenge from Llodra in the first set, including seeing off a whopping 10 break points.

But having made his breakthrough in the 12th game to steal the first set, Ferrer threatened to run away with proceedings in the second, quickly taking a double break lead.

A brief resurgence from the Frenchman, after an injury timeout for treatment to his back, threatened Ferrer’s progress for a moment.

But the Spaniard quickly regained his dominance and he secured the win with a forehand passing shot winner whipped across court after one hour and 51 minutes.

Llodra made a stunning start to the match as Ferrer struggled to find his rhythm on serve. The Frenchman, who had won only two tour matches since March coming into this tournament, used his solid return of serve to best effect.

Ferrer’s first service game lasted six minutes and his second over 10 as Llodra earned himself a fistful of early break points.

He could take advantage of none of them though, the indefatigable Ferrer running down everything as he held firm point after point, taking a 2-1 lead after 23 minutes with a forehand winner.

On the opposite side of the net, Llodra, who had not dropped his serve all week coming into this match, produced some great serving. In fact Ferrer had to wait until the eighth game before he even held an opportunity to break. But even then it was a short lived opportunity as the Frenchman slammed the door shut with a great first serve.

Llodra enjoyed break points in each of Ferrer’s first five service games but could not quite seem to make the breakthrough he deserved, and the set seemed destined to end in a tie-break.

But, as is so often the case in matches involving the Spaniard, Ferrer began to wear the Frenchman down. After the one break point in the eighth game, Ferrer again tested Llodra in the 11th game.

Two stunning return of serve winners from Ferrer put him firmly in control of the game so that, even though Llodra responded with two unreturnable first serves, it came as no surprise that the Spaniard fashioned himself a second break point after a regulation volley into the net from Llodra.

And this time, Ferrer did take advantage; another blistering return of serve winner taking not only the game but the set as well and leaving Llodra feeling understandably flat for the beginning of the second set.

Ferrer leaped on his opponent’s early second set malaise, breaking in not only the second game but also the fourth to leave things seemingly all but over even before Llodra called for the trainer.

Visibly in discomfort during the injury timeout for treatment to his back, things threatened to get even worse for Llodra, just two games from defeat at this stage.

But, buoyed by a vociferous home crowd, Llodra still had something left in the tank and immediately got one of the breaks back before racing through a service hold of his own.

Ferrer was not a man to be beaten by this stage, however, seemingly content to sit back and simply hold his serve for victory.

Llodra did give the home crowd a glimpse of hope when he pushed the Spaniard to 30-30 with Ferrer serving for the match. But it was only a temporary glimpse as the world number five set up a match point with a forehand winner before racing up to the net on the next point to flick the ball away for the win.

Should he win the Paris Masters and do well at the World Tour Finals - where Ferrer is drawn in Group B with Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic - there is a very real chance he could end the year as Spanish number one ahead of the injured Rafael Nadal.

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