Nikoloz Basilashvili will take on Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after a tough straight sets win over Taylor Fritz in their semi-final.
The Georgian world number 36 beat the 39th-ranked American 7-6 (5) 6-3 in a match lasting one hour and 41 minutes.
Norrie, 26, and Basilashvili, 29, have met once before, in the first round at the Rotterdam indoor this year, with the 26th-ranked Briton winning 6-0 6-3.
Basilashvili has five ATP titles to his name including two this year on different surfaces, winning in Munich on clay in April and on hardcourt in Doha in March, where he beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and Roberto Bautista Agut, then ranked 13th, in the final.
He also reached the semi-finals on grass at Halle.
Basilashvili needed all his nerve to prevail against 23-year-old Fritz on Saturday.
In a match far closer than the straight sets outcome might suggest, there was only one break of serve, with the Georgian converting his only break point opportunity of the match in the second set.
In contrast Fritz set up seven break points against his opponent’s serve, but Basilashvili managed to save all of them.
While Fritz won 89 per cent of his first serve points to Basilashvili’s 68 per cent and built an 11-3 edge on aces, the Georgian enjoyed an advantage on second serve points, winning 59 per cent of his compared with Fritz’s 38 per cent.
Crucially, he won 62 per cent of second serve return points to Fritz’s 41 per cent.