Simon Rolls Back The Years In Pune
Frenchman to face second seed Anderson in Saturday's final
Former World No. 6 Gilles Simon rolled back the years on Friday to beat top-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic for the sixth time in seven FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings (6-1) for a place in the Tata Open Maharashtra final.
Simon, making his debut at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament this week, recovered from a slow start to beat No. 6-ranked Marin Cilic, the two-time former champion, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes. The Frenchman is now 32-82 lifetime against opponents in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.
The 33-year-old Simon will now bid to improve upon his 12-6 record in ATP World Tour finals with his first title since February 2015 at the Open 13 Marseille (d. Monfils).
And while he entered the semi-finals with a lopsided FedEx ATP Head2Head series in his favour, the opposite will be the case in Saturday's final. Simon will face the second seed, Kevin Anderson, who has beaten the Frenchman in all three of their previous meetings.
The South African survived a tough test on Friday against fourth-seeded wild card Benoit Paire 6-7(6), 7-6(2), 6-1 in two hours and 20 minutes.
Anderson faced three break points in his second service game of the second set, but went on to lose just seven more points on his serve in the rest of the match en route to the victory.
The World No. 14 pursues his fourth ATP World Tour title, with his three previous triumphs coming on outdoor hard court, the same surface used in Pune. The 31-year-old's last victory came in August 2015 at the Winston-Salem Open (d. Herbert).
Dutch Seeds To Meet French Pair In Doubles Final
Second-seeded Dutchmen Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop moved into the doubles final after they defeated Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-4 in one hour. They will play Pierre-Hugues Herbert and his partner Gilles Simon, who beat home favourites Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan 6-4, 7-6(2) in 90 minutes.
It will be the first team title for the winning pair regardless of the duo that triumphs Saturday.