Polish underdog gatecrashes Masters final

Jerzy Janowicz continues to defy world rankings as victory over Gilles Simon gives qualifier place in Paris final.

    Polish underdog gatecrashes Masters final
    With win over Simon, Janowicz became first player in 12 years to reach a final on Masters debut [GETTY]

    Jerzy Janowicz became the first qualifier in eight years to reach the Paris Masters final after beating Gilles Simon of France 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday.

    The 21-year-old Pole, who was playing in Futures tournaments at the start of the year, has beaten five top-20 ranked players on his improbable run.

    They were Philipp Kohlschreiber (19) Marin Cilic (15), Andy Murray (3) and Janko Tipsarevic (9).

    In the first final of his career on Sunday, he will meet fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain.

    Ferrer, the only seed in the semifinals, survived an early onslaught from Michael Llodra to beat the Frenchman 7-5, 6-3.

    Against Simon, Janowicz broke in the fifth game to take control of the first set and in the 11th of the second. He clinched victory on his second match point.

    After hugging Simon at the net, the 69th-ranked Janowicz let out a scream and dropped to the floor with his head in his hands after becoming the first player in 12 years to reach a final on his Masters debut.

    Janowicz was imperious on serve, winning 88 percent of first-serve points and not facing a single breakpoint.

    He wrapped up the first set in 37 minutes, then broke the 20th-ranked Simon for the second time with a drop shot - another useful weapon, along with his booming serve.

    Janowicz is still struggling for sponsorship and missed the Australian Open this year because he didn't have enough money to travel. He had previously reached only one career quarterfinal, at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month.

    He is now expected to break into the top 30 next week and beginning the year ranked 221st.

    Jarkko Nieminen of Finland is the only qualifier to win a tournament this year - the Sydney International in January.

    The last player to reach a Masters final on debut was Harel Levy of Israel in 2000. He lost to Marat Safin in Toronto.

    SOURCE: AP


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