DUBAI: Lucas Pouille missed out on a straight-sets win and then had to beat a final-set rain delay on Friday to reach the final of the Dubai Championships.
The French second seed stood within two points of victory in the second set against Filip Krajinovic, but eventually had to go the distance to oust the Serb 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5).
"It was really tough serving for the match," said Pouille, who will face either Spanish third seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Tunisian crowd darling Malek Jaziri in Saturday's final.
"Then came the rain (for an eight-minute pause late in the second set). When we came back out it was a very different match, very tight.
"I'm very, very happy to be in the final, I told myself to stay focussed. I tried to do my best when we came back out (for the second time).
"The tiebreaker was intense, every point was tough to win. But I think I played my best tennis in the second tiebreaker."
Pouille finally advanced on his third match point as Krajinovic returned wide. He posted 16 aces and broke twice.
The Frenchman was runner-up in Marseille last weekend having won the Montpellier title earlier this season.