Vienna - American Steve Johnson reached the first ATP final of his career on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) defeat of Ernests Gulbis at the Austrian Open.
The 47th-ranked 25-year-old produced his third victory over Latvia's Gulbis, taking 91 minutes to set a new personal benchmark.
The former university tennis standout will Sunday play for the title against the winner from Spanish top seed David Ferrer and unpredictable French talent Gael Monfils.
Johnson has never faced either man.
The outsider was able to use his big serve on the way to victory, ending the encounter with a concluding 12th ace.
Johnson fired 27 winners and committed just a dozen unforced errors while the patchy Gulbis was plagued by 29 miscues.
Gulbis, ranked 117th after once standing in the Top 10, had looked to be on the road to tennis rehabilitation after injuries this season. But the Latvian ran into trouble as he faced Johnson.
Gulbis had earlier this week dispatched two of the biggest servers in the game - third seed John Isner and number seven Ivo Karlovic. Johnson was appearing in his third semi-final of 2015 after knocking second seed Kevin Anderson out in their quarter-final.
Ferrer is bidding for a spot in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals next month in London and currently stands on provisional eighth place.