Top seed Andy Roddick survived a bombardment of 32 aces from compatriot Sam Querrey to take a 2-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory and move into the final of the San Jose Open for the fourth time on Saturday.
Roddick, the winner of the title on his three previous visits to the final, will meet Spanish second seed Fernando Verdasco, who overcame Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
In a hard-fought contest in which he never held a break point, world number seven Roddick clawed his way into two tiebreakers where he used his vast experience to pull off the win.
After being overwhelmed in the first set by the seventh seeded Querrey, Roddick raced to a 6-3 lead in the second set tiebreaker behind three errors from his 22-year-old opponent, and eventually won it 7-5 with a 133-mph (214 kph) ace.
After withstanding two break points in the second game of the third set by smoking two more aces, Roddick again elbowed his way into the tiebreaker.
This time Querrey held a 4-3 lead, but made two atrocious errors off the ground, saw Roddick rip a forehand passing shot down the line and then lost the tiebreaker (7-4) and the match when he failed scoop up a Roddick drop volley.
"I was a little tight, but he never gives you anything and makes you earn every point," Querrey said.
Roddick has now won his last two matches without breaking serve after his two-tiebreaker victory over Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.
"A match can turn real fast," said Roddick, who served 21 aces. "You can swing a match in a couple of minutes and that's what I was able to do."
Earlier, Verdasco survived a rocky second set that saw the 23-year-old Uzbek overwhelm him from inside the baseline to regain control by hammering big serves and forehands past his less experienced opponent.
Verdasco broke Istomin to gain a 4-3 advantage in the third set as the Uzbek sprayed a series of forehands, then sealed the match when he rocketed a forehand winner down the line.
"He's dangerous and both us were a little up and down," Verdasco said. "In the third set I knew I had to push more and make him play."
The 96th-ranked Istomin, who is the first man from Uzbekistan to crack the top 100, was encouraged by his play but felt well aware of the gap in class.
"I played well and tried to fight but I need to improve to beat guys like this," he said. "Everything he does is good and he doesn't give you any easy points."