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By Tennis Now | Saturday, February 24, 2018

Karen Khachanov

Karen Khachanov cranked eight aces and did not drop serve powering past Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 6-2, into his first final of the season in Marseille.

Photo credit: Open13 Provence Facebook

Big hitters with a shared first-strike attack squared off in Marseille.

Karen Khachanov had the last word.

Watch: Khachanov on Safin Comparisons

The 47th-ranked Russian powered past Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 6-2, into his first final of the season in Marseille.

Nearly untouchable on serve, Khachanov served 63 percent, cranked eight aces, won 26 of 29 first-serve points and denied all thee break points advancing to his first final since he won the 2016 Chengdu Open.

The fourth-seeded Berdych was under fire from Khachanov's blistering return game.

Berdych won just six of 27 second-serve points and fended off 10 of 14 break points. 

The ninth-seeded Khachanov will face French favorite Lucas Pouille in tomorrow's final.

Pouille defeated qualifier Ilya Ivashka, 6-3, 7-6 (6), in today's second semifinal.

The third-seeded Pouille, who celebrated his 24th birthday yesterday, is playing for his second title of the season.

Pouille defeated three fellow Frenchman in succession—Benoit Paire, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet—to win his fifth career title in Montpellier earlier this month.

Three of Pouille's five career titles have come on indoor hard courts.


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