The Tata Open Maharashtra 2019 is all set for a giant Singles final between last year's finalist Kevin Anderson and rejuvenated 39-year old Croatian Ivo Karlovic at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium in Pune.
The Singles final between Karlovic (6'11", 2.11m) and Anderson (6'8", 2.03m) will be the tallest title match in the Open Era (since 1968). The previous tallest final also featured the South African where he lost to John Isner (6'10", 2.08m) in a third-set tie-break in Atlanta in 2013.
In the second semi-final last night, Kevin Anderson avenged his last year’s loss to Gilles Simon. The top seed served as many as 21 aces against the Frenchman and broke the defending Champion’s serves twice in the process.
The South African has played some of the best tennis of his career lately. The 2018 Wimbledon finalist was given a tough fight by crowd favourite Gilles Simon last night. He time and again managed to bail himself out with a better service game. But in tonight's final he'll face a different challenge in Ivo Karlovic. The Croatian leads the number of aces tally with 88 aces in total and was only broken once in the entire week against Steve Darcis in the yesterday's semi-final.
6'11' Karlovic had already made history after becoming the oldest tour-level semifinalist since Jimmy Connors in 1993 at San Francisco. His last night’s win over Belgian Steve Darcis made him the first player since Ken Rosewell in 1977 to reach a tour-level final.
Karlovic is one of the late bloomers in Tennis circuit. Since turning 35, the Croat has played 18 ATP Tours and made it to the finals in seven of it. He has eight ATP Tour titles to his name, and the most recent came in Los Cabos three years ago.
The two Singles finalist have a similar style of play. Kevin might just have a slight advantage of a better ground strokes compared to the Croatian, who'll rely more on his serves and volleys.
A cracker of a final awaits at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune in front of a full house. The top seed Kevin Anderson looks strong on paper and form-wise, but we've seen this entire week how much of a difference a strong serve can make to the results.
Kevin Anderson: Road to the final
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: bt L. Djere (7-6, 7-6)
Quarter-final: bt (7)J. Munar (6-3, 6-3)
Semi-final: bt (3)G. Simon (6-3, 7-6)
Ivo Karlovic: Road to the final
Round 1: bt F. Auger Aliassime (6-4, 7-5)
Round 2: bt E. Donskoy (6-4, 5-7)
Quarter-final: bt E. Gulbis (7-6, 7-6)
Semi-final: bt S. Darcis (7-6, 4-6, 6-3)