Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, the world number 65 who had originally been knocked out in qualifying before winning a reprieve, in Sunday’s final.
Struff, 33, made only his second career final by defeating Russia’s Aslan Karatsev who had beaten him in qualifying last weekend.
However, having been allocated a place in the main draw after injury pull-outs, Struff avenged that loss in Friday’s semifinal.
He came from a set down to see off 121st-ranked Karatsev 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and become the first ‘lucky loser’ to go all the way to a Masters final.
Struff, whose only other final appearance resulted in a runner-up finish in Munich in 2021, claimed victory on a fifth match point.
He fired 37 winners including 15 aces in his two-hour 19-minute win.
He will face the defending champion and World number two Carlos Alcaraz in the final.
“It’s amazing,” Struff said. “I played one final before in Munich but there was no crowd because of Covid.”
Struff and Alcaraz have met twice before -- the German winning in straight sets at the French Open in 2021 before the flamboyant Spaniard claimed a five-setter at Wimbledon last year.
‘I have to go for it’
“We played an amazing match at Wimbledon and I was very close to beating him but he pulled off unbelievable shots,” Struff said.
“This is going to be different. This is in Spain, in Madrid. I think he is 20-0 on Spanish clay courts, so it is going to be very tough. I have to go for it otherwise I will have no chance.”
Struff, who upset fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals, was the third lucky loser to reach the semifinals at a Masters 1000 event, joining Thomas Johansson in Toronto in 2004 and Lucas Pouille in Rome in 2016.
The Madrid women’s final between the world number one Iga Swiatek and number two, Aryna Sabalenka, takes place on Saturday.
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