Masters Series Madrid
Juan Carlos Ferrero justified his world number one status with a masterful performance against rival Roger Federer.
The Spaniard delighted the fans inside Madrid's Rockodromo, including Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 win.
The top seed now faces surprise package Nicolas Massu in the final, after the Chilean saw off Younes El Aynaoui.
Ferrero needed four match points before he eventually sunk Federer's hopes.
The Wimbledon champion would have closed in on Ferrero's world number spot with victory.
However, the third seed delivered two straight double faults at 3-2 in the deciding set and Ferrero produced two sizzling forehand returns to grab the crucial break.
Federer said: "I wasn't too happy with my game. I took chances on my serve and double faulted. That
Ferrero said: "I served really well. He only got one break
in the whole match and that's on an indoor court, with
everything going so quickly."
Massu became only the second Chilean in history to reach the final of a Masters event with a 7-5 6-4 win over El Aynaoui.
Massu, who stunned second seed Andy Roddick in the second round, matched the feat of Marcelo Rios.
El Aynaoui lost only one point in his first four service games, but at 5-5 he faced two break
points and conceded the second.
Massu served out the first set then broke El Aynaoui in the first game of the second, and held on to beat the Moroccan for the first time in three meetings this year.