Bernard Tomic progressed to his first ATP World Tour final with a straight-sets defeat of Italian Andreas Seppi at the Sydney International on Friday.
Tomic prevailed 7-6 (12-10), 6-4, having secured a vital break in the ninth game of the second set against the third-seeded Seppi that allowed him to serve for the match.
He will face Kevin Anderson in Saturday's final, the South African having advanced after beating Julien Benneteau of France 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8).
If he beats the unseeded Anderson, Tomic will become the first Australian winner in Sydney since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first 20-year-old to hoist the trophy since the great Roger Federer in 2002.
"Obviously [it was] a tough match, feeling a little bit tired now but that's what happens at the end of tournaments," Tomic told Grandstand.
"You don't feel as best you can but you've got to prepare for the next match and I'm into the final now and hopefully I can win my first title tomorrow."
The triumph continues an unbeaten start to 2013 for Tomic, who was undefeated at last week's Hopman Cup in Perth.
His run in Sydney, regardless of the outcome of Saturday's final, is likely to arrest his rankings slide that saw him drop 12 places in the rankings to 64 this week.
Tomic chose not to defend the points he earned at last year's Brisbane International, where he made the semi-finals.
The lanky Australian certainly displayed some of Hewitt's fighting spirit to get to the final, having overcome heat stress in 40 degrees Celsius on-court temperatures.
After calling for the ATP trainer while leading 5-4 in the opening set, Tomic complained of dizziness and then had to fend off six break points - or mini set points - at 5-5.
Tomic then saved four set points in the tiebreaker before snatching it when Seppi dumped a forehand into the net after 55 minutes.
Seppi, who led Novak Djokovic by two sets to love at last year's French Open, was also the first to falter in the second set.
He dropped serve in the ninth game to give Tomic a 5-4 advantage and the Australian had no trouble closing out the match after one hour, 23 minutes.
"It was very hot and I was struggling out there but I managed to find myself and lucky I won that first set and started feeling better, and started to execute my shots and feeling good," Tomic said.
"I'm happy the feeling went away and I'll be ready for tomorrow night's final."
AAP/ABCTags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000 First posted January 11, 2013 17:49:03