Los Angeles: Top seed Mardy Fish held off a strong fightback by fellow American Ryan Harrison to book his place in the final of the Los Angeles ATP event with a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 victory Saturday.
Fish won the third set tiebreaker 7-3 in bright afternoon sunshine, sealing victory with his seventh ace of the match after a see-sawing contest lasting two hours 11 minutes at the LA Tennis Centre.
In Sunday`s final, the American world number nine will face either compatriot Alex Bogomolov or Latvia`s Ernests Gulbis, who were scheduled to play their semi-final later Saturday.
Los Angeles resident Fish, who won his sixth ATP World Tour title at last week`s Atlanta Tennis Championship, raised both arms in a mixture of celebration and relief after scraping past the 19-year-old Harrison.
"He kept his level and credit to him," Fish said courtside, having stormed into a commanding 5-0 lead in the tiebreak before clinching the match.
"He came out in the second set and fought hard and didn`t give up, didn`t let the moment get to him. He could have easily won that match.”
"Tiebreakers are kind of a coin flip out here. I was lucky enough to get up there and put some pressure on him at the end."
Fish, who beat Harrison in straight sets in the semi-finals in Atlanta last week, was delighted with his own form in a one-sided opening set at the LA Tennis Centre.
"That was probably the best set of tennis I have played all year," the 29-year-old said. "I lost five, six points and it was as clean of a set as I could possibly play."
However, Fish also paid tribute to Harrison, who is widely regarded as one of the most exciting young prospects in American men`s tennis.
"This only the second semi-final of his whole career," Fish said. He`s way ahead of where I was at 19 and I have a lot of respect for his game."