Andre Agassi upset Boris Becker on Saturday, setting up a clash with top-ranked Stefan Edberg for the title at the ATP Tour World Championships.
Agassi served and returned with deadly accuracy to beat Becker 6-2, 6-4 for his third victory over the German this year and first trip to the ATP final. Agassi had eight aces."I don't think I've played better than that," he said. "My serve is becoming more of a weapon every day. I'm stronger and my serve is getting better."
Edberg, the Wimbledon champion and the defending champion at the ATP event, broke Lendl at the start of each set for a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Playing a nearly perfect serve and volley game, he won the first set when Lendl hit the net while trying to play back an Edberg volley.
"The key to beating Lendl is to put pressure on him," Edberg said.
Lendl said Edberg has been playing the best tennis of any of them all year.
"It was one of those days when one player can't do anything wrong and the other can't do anything right. Unfortunately I was the one doing everything wrong," Lendl said.
Edberg beat Agassi in three close sets in round-robin play earlier in the tournament, and Agassi said: "I am curious to see of he can do it again."
The title, worth $600,000, will be decided Sunday.
Agassi broke Becker in the very first game and immediately seized control of the match. He lost only three points on his serve in winning the first set.
Becker, the No. 2 in the world, never found his touch and faced one or more break points in six of his nine service games.
The German saved one match point while serving with Agassi leading 5-4 in the second set.
After wasting two more match points on his serve in the next game, Agassi gained the advantage when Becker netted an easy volley. A good serve by Agassi set up his winning forehand that gave him the match in 1 hour 18 minutes.
Agassi is in his second straight year-end championship, which pits the top eight players in the world against each other.
Becker failed to appear at the post-match news conference and was fined $1,000, ATP spokesman Richard Evans said.
"He feels he cannot face this ordeal right now," Evans said. "He thinks Agassi played far too well today. He is very tired."
Becker came to the tournament after a 10-day break in which he rested a torn muscle in his left thigh. He won all his three round-robin matches in the group, including one over Lendl.
"He very nearly wasn't fit for the tournament and he worked very hard to get fit," Evans said.
Agassi brought his career record against Becker to 3-3. He beat Becker in the semifinals of the Indian Wells tournament and in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. But it was his first win over Becker on carpet. The ATP championships are played on Supreme, a medium-fast court.
Agassi has a chance to become the first American to win the season-ending event since John McEnroe in 1985, when the tournament was known as the Masters.
Becker, the 1988 Masters champion and three-time Wimbledon winner, won five titles but failed to win any of the Grand Slam events this year. He also lost the chance to end the year as No. 1 when Edberg beat Pete Sampras to reach the semifinals Friday.
Edberg is assured of ending the year as the top-ranked player in the world.