PARIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Italy's Andreas Seppi reached the final of the Metz Open when he ended the hopes of Gael Monfils in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Monfils, who returned to action this week after being sidelined by a knee injury since late May, started strongly but faltered physically, losing 3-6 6-1 6-4.
World number 28 Seppi completed victory after one hour and 41 minutes on his first match point and will face either top seed and defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga from France or Russian eighth seed Nikolay Davydenko.
Former world number seven Monfils, down at 69th in the rankings, relied on his powerful first serve to grab the first set without giving his opponent a break point.
Seppi fought back to dominate the second set, forcing a visibly tiring Monfils into some extended baseline rallies.
Monfils hung on in the deciding set but the decisive breakthrough came in the fifth game when he stroked a forehand wide to give Seppi the advantage.
Seppi held on to his serve to book his place in Sunday's final, his third of the year.
(Writing by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Martyn Herman)