Sydney – World number five Juan Martin del Potro powered his way into his first Sydney International final with a straight sets demolition of Dmitry Tursunov on Friday.
Del Potro had his big serve firing as he rolled to a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Russian fourth seed in 64 minutes.
Del Potro, the top seed, will face Australian defending champion Bernard Tomic, who wore down Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky in the other semi, 6/7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-3 in 2 hours and 13 minutes.
The first Argentine to reach the Sydney final since David Nalbandian in 2009, del Potro broke Tursunov's serve three times and was formidable on his own service.
He thundered down nine aces, making it 38 aces in his three wins so far in Sydney.
It will be his 25th career final and he is looking to step up for his second major title since downing Roger Federer to win the 2009 US Open in New York.
“It is one of my biggest challenges for this season,” he said.
“I was close to reaching last year's Wimbledon final when I lost to Novak Djokovic in a great five-set semi-final but I think I am getting closer to the top four guys.
“They are still playing so well and they are the favourites for every Grand Slam, but I have the experience in this kind of tournament and if I play well, if I'm fit and healthy I will try to be dangerous for them.”
Del Potro was drawn Friday in world number one Rafael Nadal's top quarter of the men's singles draw for next week's Australian Open in Melbourne, and will play a qualifier first up.
Tomic, 21, who will play Nadal in the opening round at the Open, looked headed for defeat as Stakhovsky controlled the match after recovering from an early service break and winning the opening set in a tiebreaker.
But world number 52 Tomic broke the Ukrainian's serve in the 11th game of the second set and went on to level the match.
Both players looked fatigued in the final set and the young Australian got the crucial service break in the seventh game to take out the match.
“I was happy to get out of this match, he should have won,” Tomic said.
“It was difficult playing a lot of rallies in the first set and we were both a little fatigued and I was happy to get that break in the second set.
“I was trying to hang in because he was playing very good tennis and it's tough because he's relaxed, he goes for his shots and plays a bit different to the others.” – Sapa-AFP