18 Jan 2020

Frustrated Paire sets up all-French final in Auckland

5:59 am on 18 January 2020

The ASB Classic tennis tournament's first French champion will be crowned in Auckland on Saturday.

French tennis player Benoit Paire.

French tennis player Benoit Paire. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Benoit Paire and Ugo Humbert will meet in Saturday's title decider after prevailing in the respective semifinals played in Auckland on Friday night.

Fifth seed Paire survived a trademark second set meltdown for a 6-4 7-6 6-2 win over Polish sixth seed Hubert Hurkacz.

The match followed 21-year-old Humbert's upset 7-6 6-4 victory over fourth seed and two-time Auckland champion John Isner of the United States.

A French player has never won the men's title at the tournament, with five appearances in the final, starting in 1973 and ending in 2015, all proving unsuccessful.

Ranked 57th in the world, Humbert backed up his quarterfinal victory over second seed Denis Shapovalov to march through to his first ATP Tour final.

He also avenged his loss to Isner in their only previous meeting, which came in July last year at Newport in the US.

Paire also reversed the ledger against Hurkacz, with the Pole winning their lone match in the US in August last year.

Meanwhile a New Zealander and a New Zealand-born player will square off in search of their second ASB Classic crown in the doubles final.

Marcus Daniell and Austrian partner Philipp Oswald won Friday's second semifinal in Auckland, overcoming fourth seeds Austin Krajicek of the United States and Croatia's Franko Skugor 6-2 7-6.

The first semifinal was won by Ben McLachlan, who hails from Queenstown but now plays under the flag of Japan, and his British partner Luke Bambridge.

McLachlan and Bambridge were 7-6 7-6 winners over Belgian pair Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

Both Daniell and McLachlan, who has a Japanese mother, are former champions at the tournament.

The former lifted the doubles trophy back in 2010, while the latter is the defending champion having won last year's title playing with Germany's Jan-Lennard-Struff.