South Africa's Kevin Anderson has reached the ATP Pune final, setting him up for back-to-back titles. Photo: Martin Dokoupil/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Second seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa has set himself up for back-to-back titles after he staged a come from behind 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2) 6-1 semifinal win over fourth-seeded wild card Benoît Paire of France at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune, India, on Friday. 

Last week, Anderson lifted the Mubadala World Tennis Championship crown in Abu Dhabi in his final event for 2017. By reaching the final in Pune, he has given himself a chance to start off 2018 with a tournament victory.

Paire had his nose in front for most of the way but the second-set tiebreak proved to be the turning point in the match as he forced a third set with a convincing 7-2 scoreline. Paire won the first set after taking the tiebreak 8-6.

It was one-way traffic in the deciding set as Anderson blew his opponent away 6-1 to secure his final appearance.
 

In the other semifinal earlier on Friday the unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon toppled top seed and tournament-favourite Marin Marin Čilić 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the match lasting just under two hours.

Simon (world 89) staged a dramatic fightback after dropping the opening set 6-1 to the world No 6 Čilić of Croatia. He managed to hold serve only once and 27 minutes later the set was done and dusted.

A change of tactics which saw Simon, a former world No 6, attack his opponent's serve paid dividends and in no time he raced ahead 4-0 in the second set. He continued to mix up his game and egged on by the crowd he never let Čilić back into the game.

Simon will play Anderson in the final. They have met three times previously on the ATP tour and Anderson leads the head-to-head count 3-0. They last played in October 2017 when Anderson won 6-2 7-6 (6) at the Tokyo Open.  

African News Agency (ANA)