An­der­son into Queen’s fi­nal, Mur­ray de­layed

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY STEVEN GRIF­FITHS

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.”

Rain Pain

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.

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