Hanescu beats Fognini to reach Mercedes Cup final

STUTTGART: Jeremy Chardy of France mastered windy, wet and cool conditions to defeat German veteran Nicolas Kiefer 6-3,7-5 on Saturday for a place in the final of the Mercedes Cup.

Chardy, who is looking for his first career title, will play Victor Hanescu of Romania, who beat Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2.

The fourth-seeded Hanescu, the only seeded player left in the field, lost his first set of the tournament before reaching his first ATP tour final in a year.

His last final was in July 2008 at Gstaad, Switzerland, where he won his only title.

Hanescu beat Chardy in the quarterfinals of the Gstaad tournament, but lost to the Frenchman in the first round of the Indian Wells Masters this year.

Chardy, ranked No. 43, was runner up in Johannesburg in February.

He broke the 32-year-old Kiefer''s serve to win the match played in drizzle.

``He read my game very well,'''' Kiefer said.

Hanescu, who is ranked No. 33, served for the match in the second set but was broken and then lost the tiebreaker.

Kiefer and Chardy both had to play twice Saturday, after their quarterfinals were washed out by rain. Kiefer advanced by beating Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 6-1, while Chardy defeated Mischa Zverev of Germany 7-6 (4), 6-1.