Auckland: Unseeded Ugo Humbert will play fifth-seeded Benoit Paire in an all-French final of the ASB Classic.
Humbert beat fourth seed and two-time champion John Isner 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Friday to reach his first career final.
Paire later beat sixth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-4, 6-7 (0), 6-2 to reach his ninth final and his first in Auckland.
Close friends, Paire and Humbert have met only once on tour, last August, when Paire won in three sets at Winston-Salem.
"To play against Ugo in the final is something special, between French guys," Paire said. "I know him, he's young and he's a very good player, next-gen."
Humbert has been the giant killer this week beating second-seeded Denis Shapavalov and 20th-ranked Isner.
Isner fought his way out of some tight spots in reaching the semifinals; his first two matches included four tiebreakers and the American faced another on Friday in the first set against Humbert.
This time, Humbert had a slight edge. Isner managed only 12 aces, well down on his average, and made 32 unforced errors to give Humbert a vital advantage.
Paire once again had a costly outburst in the second set when he conceded a point penalty for racket abuse during the tiebreaker. He quickly composed himself, gained an early break in the third set and held on to take the match.
"I'm very sorry, I broke one racket and I was very nervous," Paire said. "It's very hard to play against Hubert."
"I've only two (rackets) left so I hope I can win the final."
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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2020 15:36:11 IST