Austrian Dominic Thiem beat Kevin Anderson for the first time at the seventh attempt to reach the Madrid Open final for the second successive year on Saturday.
The fifth seed won 6-4, 6-2 as he continued the scintillating form that ended top seed Rafael Nadal’s year-long unbeaten run on clay the day before.
South African Anderson, seeded sixth, was playing in his first Masters 1000 semi-final but faded after a solid start.
While Thiem had a 0-6 record against Anderson, the pair had never met on the Austrian’s favoured clay surface, and the longer rallies suited his heavy baseline game.
Thiem needed a single break of serve in the opening set and broke twice in the second to wrap up victory.
He will play either Alexander Zverev or Canadian Denis Shapovalov in Sunday’s final.