Beijing - Marin Cilic deployed his powerful serve to ease past fellow Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday and reach the final of the China Open.
In the first on the women's semi-finals, German ninth seed Andrea Petkovic overwhelmed Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 6-2 6-0.
Cilic, who also reached the final in 2009 before losing to Novak Djokovic, will next face Czech Tomas Berdych or Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who were playing later on Saturday.
The world number 25, who had lost both his previous matches against his Beijing doubles partner, took the upper hand with a break to lead 5-4, before closing out the first set in the next game.
Ljubicic lead 3-1 in the second set, but failed to make the most of his opportunities, dropping serve in the fifth game when his forehand clipped the net and fell wide.
Cilic pounced on the opportunity and dominated the remainder of the match, eventually breaking his opponent to love in the final game for a 6-3 finish. Ljubicic has now lost all three semi-finals he has played in Beijing.
Niculescu, who was playing her third WTA semi-final, failed to hold serve in the entire match as Petkovic claimed victory in just 61 minutes.
The Romanian, who knocked out Li Na and Maria Kirilenko earlier in the tournament, is projected to rise to a career-high ranking of 35 next week.
Petkovic lost her first service game, and failed to serve out for the set at 5-1, but otherwise dominated the match.
She will be playing her third final of the year after winning in Strasbourg and finishing as runner-up in Brisbane. Her opponent in Sunday's final will be either Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland or Italian Flavia Pennetta.