Auckland - Qualifier Jir Vesel continued his unheralded advance through a weakened Auckland Open field on Friday, defeating South Africa's Kevin Anderson to win a place in the final.
The 21-year-old Czech, ranked 63 in the world, downed Anderson 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to set up a decider with French journeyman Adrian Mannarino, the 44th ranked player on tour.
The pair, both left handers, have never played each other before and neither has ever contested an ATP final.
They have seized the opportunity presented after a string of high-profile players including David Ferrer, Gael Monfils and Tommy Robredo pulled out of the tournament to stay fresh for next week's Australian Open.
Vesel's straight sets victory over Anderson, the only seeded player to make the semi-finals, avenged his loss to the South African in their only previous meeting, a five-setter at last year's Australian Open.
The Czech has displayed some fine form on the way to the final, defeating second seed Ernests Gulbis in the second round, while Mannarino struggled to overcome fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille in his semi.
The 26-year-old eventually prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 against a fearless young opponent prepared to play his shots, admitting afterwards he was "exhausted but very happy".
"He was pushing all the time and I was on the defence," Mannarino said.
"It's not easy when you don't feel like you're controlling. At the end he made one or two mistakes to help me."