Tennis: Verdasco, Almagro to meet in Houston final

HOUSTON (AFP) - Fourth-seeded Fernando Verdasco beat Santiago Giraldo in straight sets to reach his first final of 2014, where an all-Spanish battle awaits.

Verdasco eased past the Colombian 6-4, 7-5 in the first semi-final match at the US men's clay court championship.

Former world No.7 Verdasco will try to earn his first title since 2010 against third-seeded Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almagro, who advanced when American Sam Querrey was cut down by a back injury.

"He's really dangerous on clay," Almagro said of Verdasco. "He's serving well. It will be a nice final. We are going to do our best."

Almagro lost in last year's Houston final to American John Isner.

Verdasco, who advanced to his 19th final on the Tour, is seeking to snap a six-match losing streak in finals since hoisting his fifth trophy on the clay of Barcelona in 2010.

Verdasco became the first player since Marcel Granollers in 2008 to reach both the singles and doubles finals in Houston.

He overcame a 3-5 deficit in the second set in windy conditions on Saturday at the River Oaks Country Club. He won four consecutive games for the victory in 91 minutes.

Verdasco converted on five of six break points, clinching the match when Giraldo sent a backhand return long.

He will face Almagro for the 10th time in their careers.

The latter is aiming for his 13th title. The Houston final will not feature an American for just the second time since 2000.