Pune: Ivo Karlovic cut short the remarkable comeback run of Steve Darcis to set up the Tata Open Maharashtra clash with Kevin Anderson, who avenged his last year's defeat against Gilles Simon on Friday.
Belgium's Darcis, playing his first tournament after missing the entire 2018 season due an injury, was impressive even in his 6-7(3), 6-4, 3-6 defeat against Karlovic.
It will be first final for the tall 39-year-old Croat, one of the oldest on the Tour, in more than two years. Winning the Los Cabos in August 2016 was the last time he was in the final of an event on the ATP World Tour.
In the other semi-final between the last year's finalists, Anderson won 6-3, 7-6 (3) against the Frenchman in a tight clash, which lasted one hour and 48 minutes.
Anderson saved nine of the 10 break points and converted both the chances that came his way.
Darcis's remarkable ability to find winners was put to test by the big-serving Croat, who achieved a rare feat of hitting more than 30,000 aces.
Darcis still left the tall Karlovic amazed quite a number of times when he was passed. Playing a smart serve and volley game, Karlovic remained ahead in the decider after splitting the first two sets.
He broke the Belgian in the fourth to pull away 3-1 and consolidated the lead with an easy hold. From there, there was no dramatic turnaround and Karlovic ended the match with a crushing forehand winner.
When you are playing against Karlovic, it's not fun. But I am still happy to be on court after long break. In 2017, I got my best ranking and then got injured. I did not want to finish like that, said Darcis.
It gives me confidence that I am still in shape.
In the period when I was out, I spent time with my two children and travelled a bit, he said.
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Updated Date: Jan 05, 2019 08:48:21 IST