MONTPELLIER, France -- Sixth-seeded Albert Montanes of Spain rallied from a set and break down to beat top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in the quarterfinals of the Open Sud de France on Friday.
Montanes won on his third match point when Davydenko's weak backhand return hit the net. The Spaniard will play defending champion Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in his first career indoor semifinal.
"It was a very hard game and I was fortunate enough to be able to break back in the second set," Montanes said. "It's my first semifinal indoors and everything is going well for me. This gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the tournament."
Ljubicic won with a backhand volley at the net, which Nieminen reached but could not return.
"This is my fourth week in a row [playing] ... a lot of traveling, a lot of tennis. Tomorrow's another day and I have to be ready," Ljubicic said. "I was watching the [Montanes] match and he was losing 6-4 and 3-1; everybody thought Davydenko's going to win easily. He's a great fighter and he came back. I think we'll both be equally tired."
"It's great news that either Jo, Gilles or I will be in the final," Monfils said. "It's good for the tournament to have a Davis Cup player in the final."
Davydenko's seventh ace gave him the opening set and he looked in control when he broke for a 2-0 lead in the second with a superb cross-court winner.
But a sloppy sixth game ended with Davydenko's two-handed backhand into the net, allowing Montanes to pull even at 3-3. Davydenko then missed another chance in the 11th game when Montanes saved a break point with a net volley.
Montanes wasted his first match point, serving at 5-4 in the third set, as Davydenko pressured him into unforced errors on his backhand.
But Montanes broke straight back for another chance to close out on serve at 6-5 and then missed his second match point when Davydenko's crisp forehand bounced inside the line.