Top seed and world number three David Ferrer has been denied his bid for a fifth Heineken Open crown by veteran Yen-Hsun Lu - a player contesting his first ATP world tour semifinal in his 13-year pro career.
Lu, ranked 62 in the world, ousted the Spanish great 6-4 7-6 (4) in tonight's semifinals to book a final showdown against another former champion, American John Isner, tomorrow.
Ferrer, who came through a tough three-set quarterfinal match against compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez last night, looked out-of-sorts as he struggled to find his rhythm against the crafty Lu.
Lu, of Chinese Taipei, has been super consistent all week, and once against used the fast Stanley St surface to good effect tonight, as Ferrer struggled with his opponent's blistering returns.
After the match an extremely disappointed Ferrer could not quite put his finger on what went wrong against Lu, but refused to blame fatigue from the previous night's match as a factor.
"I didn't play so good - it is maybe one of the worst defeats of my career," said Ferrer.
"Today I made a lot of mistakes like a junior."
Isner won his way through to the final after overcoming a horrible start in his semifinal showdown against Roberto Bautista Agut.
The 2010 champion looked slow and laboured around the court early on before taking the initiative mid-way through the second set to claim a 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4 win.
Dictating the pace of the game at the outset, Bautista Agut forced the 2.08m tall Isner into a running game, which he struggled with. After easily claiming the opening set Bautista Agut looked headed for his second ATP Tour final with a 5-3 lead in the second.
But Isner came up with a timely break of serve, eventually forcing a second set tie break.
With the best record in tie breaks on the tour, Isner predictably won before powering away in the third set, setting up match point with a 231km ace.
Tomorrow's doubles final has an element of symmetry to it, with two Brazilian-Austrian pairings going head-to-head.
Top seeds Alexander Peya (AUT) and Bruno Soares (BRA) won their way through to the final with a dominant performance over Italy's Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic. They will take on the second seeds Julian Knowle (AUT) and Marcelo Melo (BRA) in the final.