Ivan Lendl, top seeded and ranked No. 1 in the world, defeated Brad Gilbert, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, today to advance to Sunday's final of the U.S. Pro Indoor Tennis Championships.
Lendl's next plays seventh-seeded Tim Mayotte, who defeated No. 4 Yannick Noah, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
After Mayotte won the first set with a service break in the second game on three straight points and Noah took the second with service breaks in the sixth and eighth games, Mayotte got the only service break of the third set. He won on his fifth match point with a powerful serve Noah returned into the net. Noah had forced four deuces before losing.
Lendl won the last set with service breaks in the third and seventh games. Leading by 5-2, he saved three break points before winning the match when Gilbert, seeded 11th and ranked 18th, hit a backhand shot from the baseline that was long.
Lendl originally planned to skip this tournament but was an 11th hour replacement for John McEnroe, on sabbatical from the tour.
In the first set, Lendl suffered his first service break of the tournament. Gilbert broke for a 4-2 lead when Lendl netted the last two points.
Lendl broke right back and held.
In the 11th game Lendl took three straight points from 15-15 for a break that gave him a 6-5 edge. Lendl won the set when Gilbert's backhand return of serve was out.
Early in match, both players complained on some close calls, especially Gilbert on Lendl's opening serve of the fourth game that was called out by the linesman and reversed by the umpire. A supervisor, requested by Gilbert, upheld the reversal, much to Gilbert's chagrin.
Gilbert went ahead, 4-2, in the second set when Lendl netted one shot and smashed two out of court.
Lendl rallied from set point in the ninth game to break Gilbert's serve and trailed, 5-4. Lendl had only to hold serve to even the set. Gilbert took a 40-15 lead, but needed two set points before Lendl hit a backhand out and lost a set for the first time this week.