Clement tops two champs to reach final
France's Arnaud Clement beat fourth seed Jonas Bjorkman 6-2 6-4 indoors at the Nottingham Open on Friday for his second successive victory over a previous tournament winner, having earlier disposed of defending champion Richard Gasquet.
The world number 38, who defeated Gasquet 6-4 6-3 in their weather-delayed quarter-final earlier on Friday will play Ivo Karlovic in the final after the big-serving Croat saw off Russian second seed Dmitry Tursunov 7-5 6-4.
Organisers of the grasscourt tournament moved the day's matches inside because of rain, which prevented all but one of Thursday's quarter-finals from being completed.
Better weather is forecast for Saturday's final which is expected to take place on grass as scheduled.
"It's a very, very good day for me. It's a strange feeling when you change surface and only practise 30 minutes in the morning and play your best two matches in a row," Clement told reporters.
Clement beat Karlovic on both their previous meetings on grass, including a quarter-final victory at Queen's last week.
"It's always tough against him but I had a very good return match last week against him," Clement said.
"Against him, the difference is always two points in a set. You have to be aggressive. If you're not aggressive, if he has too much time to play he's very dangerous," the 29-year-old added.
It was the second match of the day for both Clement and Bjorkman, who defeated another Frenchman, Paul-Henri Mathieu, 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the last eight.
Playing in a hall with no spectators, aside from a few people peering through the windows, Clement broke Bjorkman, the 1998 and 2002 champion, twice in the first set.
But the 35-year-old Swede seemed to have found his way back into the match when he took a 3-0 lead in the second.
The French eighth seed broke back for 3-2 and again in the ninth game, turning athletically to hit a forehand past Bjorkman, who shouted in frustration.
Serving for victory, Clement took the match at the first time of asking with a smash.
Karlovic squandered six break points against Tursunov in the first set of their match before wearing him down to go 6-5 ahead.
The 2.08-metres-tall Croat then served for the set, sealing it with an ace, one of 16 he fired down during the match.
He broke Tursunov for a 2-1 lead in the second which was enough for victory.
"I might have had a better chance in rallies but then there are not too many rallies on his serve," Tursunov said.
"He's been improving everything other than his serve and now you can't expect him to miss a ball just because you got it back which was the case a couple of years ago."