Anderson into Queen’s final, Murray delayed
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson blitzed his way into his first Queen’s Club final with 34 aces in a 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 win over French seventh seed Gilles Simon, while Andy Murray’s last four clash was ruined by rain.
Anderson’s lethal serve proved the decisive factor in a hard-fought semifinal at the Wimbledon warmup event and the world number 17 will face either top seed Murray or Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in Sunday’s final in west London.
The 29-year-old, who now has 96 aces in the tournament, will be appearing in his 10th tour-level final and his first on grass.
But he will have to wait until Sunday morning to discover his opponent after heavy rain forced the postponement of Murray’s semifinal with the scores level at 3-3 in the first set.
Murray, bidding to win the tournament for a fourth time, will resume play at 1000GMT, with the final scheduled for not before 1325GMT.
“I definitely feel I’ve been serving great this week. I’ve been able to get to a higher level,” Anderson said.
“It’s just about the rhythm and the way it feels. I really feel it’s been clicking the last few matches.
“Gilles is a great returner. He calls himself the return genius. So I can take a little bit more extra confidence in the way I was able to take care of my serve today.”
Anderson’s first final since he lost to Kei Nishikori in Memphis in February was secured in one hour and 52 minutes.
If he wins on Sunday it will be the Johannesburg-born player’s first ATP title since Delray Beach in 2012.
“It’s going to be a big match. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a tournament I remember watching at a very young age,” Anderson said.
“Everybody knew Queen’s is the week before Wimbledon and you had the best players in the world playing it. To be in the final myself feels great.”
Anderson, who lives in the United States and plans to take dual U.S-South African citizenship later this year, had bludgeoned his way to the last four with 62 aces in his three matches and had dropped serve only once in 40 service games.
French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and four-time Queen’s champion Lleyton Hewitt were among those unable to find a solution to the Anderson blitz.
Simon was in the semifinals for the first time after repelling a barrage of big serves from Canadian third seed Milos Raonic in the last eight, but he was unable to repeat that feat against Anderson.
After a delay of over an hour due to persistent drizzle, play fi- nally got underway and it was Anderson who landed the first blow with a pair of sizzling forehand winners in the eighth game.
Those blistering strikes secured two break points and he converted the second when Simon’s forehand drifted long.
His potent serve ensured that would prove a fatal miscue by Simon as the South African easily closed out the set.
Another booming Anderson serve at 5-5 in the second set tiebreak gave him a first match point, but he shanked a backhand well wide and then lost his composure as Simon reeled off three successive points to level the match.
Even that unexpected escape couldn’t provide Simon with the ammunition to breach Anderson’s impregnable serve.
The South African remained relentless and Simon eventually cracked with a mistake-filled eighth game that presented Anderson with a break and the opportunity to seal the win.