Chang to face Gambill in final

Michael Chang, showing the grit that has marked his 12-year pro career, overcame hard-serving Justin Gimelstob 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday to reach the Mercedes-Benz Cup final in Los Angeles.

Michael Chang, showing the grit that has marked his 12-year pro career, overcame hard-serving Justin Gimelstob 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday to reach the Mercedes-Benz Cup final in Los Angeles.

Chang advanced to Sunday's final against No. 6 Jan-Michael Gambill, who defeated No. 8 Arnaud Clement 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus.

After having his serve broken twice in losing the first set, the fourth-seeded Chang rallied from a 1-3 deficit in the second set and went on to win 11 straight games to close out the 2-hour, 6-minute match.

"I tried to hang in there," said Chang, who dropped a set for the first time in four matches here. "Sometimes when you're able to do that, things turn."

Chang reached his second final of the year, having lost to Magnus Norman on hardcourts at Auckland, New Zealand, in January. Chang hasn't won a title since 1998.

"It's been a long time, and I have another opportunity," he said.

Gambill is in his second career ATP Tour final. He won his first title at Scottsdale, Arizona, last year, beating Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras en route to the final.

Gambill's match turned on a line call in the third set. Ahead 4-3 with Clement serving at 40-30, Gambill hit a crosscourt backhand that bounced near the line and was called good to move the score to deuce. Clement challenged the chair umpire and lineswoman to no avail.

"It was out. It was a very important point," Clement said.

Gambill hit a backhand down the line off Clement's second serve and then Clement hit a backhand wide to trail 5-3.

"In the third, that's the best I've served in the tournament," said Gambill, who had 11 aces. "He surprised me. I didn't know he could hit the ball that hard."

Gimelstob led Chang at 2-1, 30-all in the second set when he dived on the hardcourt for a ball near the net and bruised his right knee. Gimelstob needed a 3-minute injury timeout, but came back to serve a 113 mph (180 kph) ace and take a 3-1 lead.

"I was looking to see if he had trouble moving one way or another, but it didn't seem like it," Chang said. "In the third, he got a little bit tired."

Gimelstob grew increasingly agitated and shouted at a fan whose cell phone rang during his service game. Chang broke in that game to tie the set 3-3.

"That kind of sums up my first four years on the tour - close but not good enough," said Gimelstob, a former UCLA star who upset No. 2 seed Mark Philippoussis on Thursday. "I just think I got a little flustered and lost sight of what I was trying to do. He didn't make any errors. He just stayed the course, and I didn't."

Two games later, Gimelstob received a warning for racket abuse after he tossed his racket into the chair umpire's stand.

"It's part of his personality to be intense," Chang said. "Sometimes it's going to hurt him and sometimes it's going to fire him up."

After being seen by a doctor, Gimelstob played his doubles semifinal, which he lost in two sets.

Results from the $375,000 Mercedes-Benz Cup ATP Tour hard-court tournament:

Singles - Semifinals

Michael Chang (4), United States, def. Justin Gimelstob, United States, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. Jan-Michael Gambill (6), United States, def. Arnaud Clement (8), France, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Doubles - Semifinals

Paul Kilderry and Sandon Stolle (4), Australia, def. Justin Gimelstob and Rick Leach (1), United States, 6-4, 6-1.

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