Rising star Dominic Thiem of Austria has knocked Rafael Nadal out of the Argentina Open with a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-4) victory over the defending champion on Saturday.
Nadal had a match point at 5-4 in the final set of the claycourt semi-final but failed to convert.
The 22-year-old Thiem will be looking for his first ATP singles title of the season in Sunday’s final against Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
Almagro beat Ferrer for the first time in 16 attempts in the second semi-final to book a date with Thiem.
The 30-year-old, who won the title in 2011, needed one hour and 51 minutes to see off Ferrer 6-4 7-5.
“This is the reward for many months of hard work, but there’s no time to celebrate. I have to focus on tomorrow’s match and hopefully I can play at the same level,” Almagro said
Almagro and Thiem met in last month’s Australian Open second round with the Austrian winning in straight sets.
Nadal, who used to be nearly unbeatable on clay, now heads to Rio de Janeiro for next week’s Rio Open, where he lost last season in the semis to Fabio Fognini of Italy.