13 Jan 2012

Rochus in dreamland after making Auckland final again

9:09 pm on 13 January 2012

Seven years after making the final of the Auckland men's tennis tournament for the first time, Olivier Rochus is pinching himself at again booking his place in Saturday's decider.

The Belgian reached the final by winning his third straight three-set match, beating former champion Phillip Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-7 6-1 6-4 on a rather windy day.

Rochus says he can't believe he came through to face defending champion David Ferrer in the final after the top seed defeated fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the other semi-final, 6-3 6-4.

Ferrer first had to beat Colombian Alejandro Falla in a three-setter to reach the semis, after Thursday's rain ruined any chance of play for the pair.

The top seed came back from a break down in the deciding set with two breaks of his own to win 6-4 4-6 6-3 in just over two hours.

Verdasco resumed his rain-interrupted quarter-final leading 3-1 and he eased home 7-5 6-4 over his doubles partner Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in almost two and a half hours.