David Ferrer overcame a courageous effort from Michael Llodra to book his place in the final of the BNP Masters in Paris.
The world number five had to save 10 break points against the left-hander before taking the first set, and the local hope remained competitive to the end before bowing out 7-5 6-3.
Ferrer went into the semi-final a strong favourite but it was Llodra who repeatedly looked like breaking through early on with his chip-and-charge approach.
But the Spaniard is one of the great chasers in the game, and he held firm before breaking Llodra for the first time this week to take the opening set with a backhand down the line.
World No 121 Llodra looked set to fold meekly as he was broken again early in the second before receiving lengthy treatment on a back injury.
Ferrer broke again for 4-0 but the Frenchman, buoyed by a patriotic crowd who had earlier seen Gilles Simon lose in the first semi-final, amazingly broke to love and finally held for the first time in four games.
However, it didn't seem likely that Ferrer would let such a position slip and so it proved, successfully serving out his next two service games and take the match in an hour and 50 minutes.
He now faces world No 69 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in Sunday's final as he looks to go into the World Tour Finals next week on a high.