Feliciano Lopez, seeking unprecedented back-to-back titles at Eastbourne, secured a comprehensive 6-4 7-6 (4) victory over American giant Sam Querrey in his second match of the day.
The left-handed Spaniard, who has always played matches in the late afternoon as defending champion, had to dismiss France’s Jeremy Chardy first thing on Friday before facing 6’6” Querrey in their semi-final showdown.
And the 32-year-old #3 seed beat Querrey in 77 minutes, saving the sole break point he faced yet was forced into a second set tiebreak that he reeled off with aplomb.
Lopez arrived brimming with confidence despite having fluffed a match point on last Sunday’s final to taste defeat to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on the grass at Queen’s Club in London.
And Lopez romped away with the opening set but a tight second set saw neither player able to break serve in an edgy contest, but Lopez attacked the net in the tiebreak to clinch the result he was seeking.
Top seed and Devonshire Park debutant Richard Gasquet stands in the way of Lopez repeating last year’s at the English south coast resort.
French ace Gasquet has yet to be tested and the 28-year-old will be bidding to claim his eleventh ATP Tour title.