Fish tops Harrison in LA, gains 2nd straight final

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Mardy Fish returns a shot against Ryan Harrison during their semifinal match at the Farmers Classic tennis tournament, Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Los Angeles. Fish won 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3). (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mardy Fish fought from behind in the third set to advance to his second straight final, beating teenager Ryan Harrison 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3) on Saturday night at the Farmers Classic.

Fish will play for his second straight title Sunday against unseeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

The top-seeded Fish beat Harrison in straight sets in the semifinals at Atlanta and picked up where he left off Saturday, breezing through the opening set in 20 minutes. A frustrated Harrison won only six points.

"That's probably the cleanest set of tennis I've played in a long time," Fish said.

Harrison responded in the second set and pushed Fish to the brink in the third. Fish regrouped and went up 5-0 in the tiebreaker and won the match with an ace.

"It's never going to be like that for two sets," Fish said. "I was playing at an extremely high level. You expect him to bounce back and play better. And he did."

Fish has won six career titles, but had never reached the final at this tournament.

Gulbis beat American Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-2, 7-6 (4) to reach his second career final. The 2010 Delray Beach champion has never faced Fish.

Gulbis, ranked as high as 21st in February, has dropped to 84th. Riding a five-match losing streak entering the tournament, Gulbis has discovered his old form in winning the four matches.

"I'm on a comeback," Gulbis said. "If I didn't play well here, I'd probably drop to 1,000. This is boosting up my confidence."

The 19-year-old Harrison was trying for his first career final. He is the first American teen to make consecutive semifinals appearances since Andy Roddick in 2002.

Harrison's current run has pushed him to a career-best 94th in the world. He fell to 0-7 against top-10 players.

"I don't feel like I can't beat (Fish)," Harrison said. "It was a coin-flip there at the end, and he won."

Harrison showed his emotions in the third set, smashing his racket to the court and bending it in half after Fish broke his serve. Harrison received a warning from the chair umpire and tossed the mangled racket to a group of kids sitting courtside.

"I'm pretty high-strung. It's not a secret that I have a lot of energy," Harrison said. "I got it out of my system. It's not like it affected my performance."

Fish wasn't fazed by the outburst, winning the ensuing game to go up 3-1.

"You sort of want your opponent doing that sort of thing," he said.