Anderson Avenges Simon Defeat To Reach Pune Final
One year ago, Gilles Simon defeated Kevin Anderson to lift the trophy at the Tata Open Maharashtra. But on Friday, Anderson got his revenge, beating the Frenchman 6-3, 7-6(3) to reach the final in Pune.
The South African has not lost the momentum of his breakthrough 2018 season in which he won two titles — in New York and Vienna — and made his first appearance at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals. After winning just one title in six years after triumphing in Delray Beach in 2012, Anderson will now have a chance to earn his third victory in less than a year.
Anderson will face history-making Ivo Karlovic in the final, as the 39-year-old Croat is the oldest tour-level finalist since Ken Rosewall triumphed in Hong Kong in 1977. The top seed owns a 3-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Karlovic, with their most recent meeting coming at Roland Garros in 2014.
In last year's championship match, Simon's consistency was too strong for Anderson in what was a straight-sets win for the Frenchman. But this time around, it appeared the World No. 6 would completely flip the script when he led by a set and a break. But Anderson's forehand misfired at times in the second set, and Simon fed off of the momentum gained from those errors to raise his level. The defending champion held two set points to force a decider, but in letting those slip he saw his hopes of retaining the Pune trophy go with it.
Anderson came out firing in the tie-break, taking a 6/1 lead. And the 32-year-old would not let go of his advantage, taking a 4-1 lead in the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series after one hour and 48 minutes.
Did You Know?
Anderson owns a 5-13 record in tour-level finals. Last year, in addition to his two titles, the South African made the championship match in Pune, Acapulco, and at Wimbledon.