World number seven Andrey Rublev is into his first grass court final on the ATP tour after beating Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last four at Halle on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Russian was made to work for his 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 semi-final victory in just under two hours.
“It’s my first final on grass and in Halle,” said Rublev, who was the only seed left in the draw from the quarter-finals onwards.
“I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again tomorrow.”
In Sunday’s final, Rublev will meet Ugo Humbert, who beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) in the other semi-final later Saturday.
Humbert, ranked 31st in the world, has been in impressive form in Halle and the 22-year-old dumped out French Open semi-finalist Alexander Zverev in the last 16.
Earlier in the week, Auger-Aliassime, 20, also underlined his status as one to watch on the ATP tour with a shock second-round win over childhood idol Roger Federer in Halle.
Home hope Norrie stands between Berrettini and Queen’s title
Top seed Matteo Berrettini says he hopes he does not sleep too well ahead of Sunday’s Queen’s tournament final after beating Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Italian has yet to drop a set on his debut at Queen’s and although Australian number one De Minaur gave him a good workout he had too much power for his opponent.
Berrettini has beaten two Britons on his way to the final – Andy Murray and Dan Evans – and will have to beat another Cameron Norrie if he is to lift the trophy.
The 25-year-old South Africa-born Norrie beat Canadian second seed Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-3.
An early break for Berrettini in the first set over the fourth-seeded De Minaur and then at 4-4 in the second was sufficient to seal his place in the final of the key warm-up tournament for Wimbledon.
“The goal of the week is to win the title,” said Berrettini.
“There is one more step, for sure, to achieve that but to reach the final is a great achievement with the history of the tournament.
“I had to play my best to beat Alex.”
Berrettini – who has been in fine form and arrived on the back of a quarter-final appearance at the French Open – has won the Serbian Open this year and reached the final of the Madrid Masters.
He grinned when asked does he usually sleep soundly on the eve of a final.
“If I sleep too well then something is off,” he said.
“I have to be nervous and the adrenaline has to kick in... I just hope I will sleep enough.”
Shapovalov reached the semi-finals earlier on Saturday completing victory in his match with American Frances Tiafoe, which had been interrupted by bad light on Friday, 6-3, 6-4.
Norrie had his measure throughout the match and the Canadian’s cause was not helped when he required medical attention at 2-1 down in the second set.
Shapovalov has had injury trouble of late withdrawing from the French Open due to a shoulder problem.
This time the problem appeared to be his hip and back as the masked Queen’s physio flipped him over tending to both.
Shapovalov stayed in the set till Norrie broke for 5-3 and he had little trouble in closing out the match – celebrating with a huge roar bringing the home crowd to their feet.
Norrie will bid on Sunday to become only the second Briton to win the title since World War II – Murray having won it a record five times.
“I am so pleased to be through to the final and to get over the line,” said Norrie.
“This is a huge time for me it is one of my biggest achievements so far.”
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