Davydenko to face Verdasco for Kuala Lumpur title

KUALA LUMPUR: Top seed Nikolay Davydenko turned his luck in dramatic fashion Saturday with a storming 1-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 comeback over Swede Robin Soderling to move into the final of the Malaysian Open.

The Russian will face second seed Fernando Verdasco on Sunday after the Spaniard defeated Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 6-4, 7-5 in the other semi-final.

"This was by far my best match in this tournament," said the Spaniard. "I served really well and also felt comfortable from the baseline.

"I face a very tough opponent in the final. Nikolay is a very good player and has been in the Top 10 for a long time.

"He's beaten me more times than I have beaten him but I hope I can play my best tennis tomorrow and win the title."

Davydenko has won five of six meetings with Verdasco dating to 2004.

For only the second time in 53 ATP events this season, a tournament's top-four players made it to the semi-final stage after the Cincinnati Masters saw Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic come through.

The entire Kuala Lumpur quartet are chasing spots in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London next month.

Third-seed French Open finalist Soderling got off to a dream start against Davydenko as he trounced the Russian in their opening set.

But Davydenko, with clay trophies over the summer in Hamburg and Umag, recovered with a winning tie-break in the second and then drove the point home in the third to complete his comeback in a shade over two hours.

Both men struck nine aces and broke three times apiece. Davydenko improved his record to 3-5 against Soderling, who had won their last four matches.

The Russian was competing with a wrist problem which hardly looks to have affected his solid form at the Putra stadium.

"It will still take three or four days to heal. It makes a difference in my forehand," he said.

"Soderling likes to play from the baseline and also has a great serve. I had to play well. Also this surface is a bit uneven, so I couldn't expect to strike everything perfectly.

"I'm glad to have played well in the semis."