LONDON (Reuters) - Kevin Anderson produced a devastating display of serving power to reach the final of the Aegon Championships with a 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 defeat of gallant Frenchman Gilles Simon at Queen’s Club on Saturday.
Seventh seed Simon watched 34 aces fly past him on the slick Centre Court grass but hung on to stretch the towering South African into a decider before succumbing.
Anderson, ranked 17 in the world, will face either top seed Andy Murray or Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in Sunday’s final which will be his first on grass.
World number three Murray, bidding for a fourth Queen’s Club title, and Troicki were locked at 3-3 in the first set when heavy rain wiped out the rest of the day’s play, meaning they will resume at 1000GMT (6:00 a.m. ET) on Sunday.
Troicki slipped and fell and appeared to injure his shoulder during the final point before the rain arrived but was ready to resume when play was suspended.
The 29-year-old Anderson has dropped serve only once on the way to the final, against former champion Lleyton Hewitt in round one when he was a point away from defeat.
Since then he has gathered momentum and has looked impregnable on serve, bashing down 96 aces.
“I think at this point it’s more just about the rhythm and the way it feels,” the unseeded Anderson told reporters.
“I really feel it’s been clicking the last few matches.”
It was in the groove against the agile Simon who did not sniff a single break point.
Anderson is not just a monstrous server though.
He struck plenty of precision groundstrokes and a couple of rasping forehands allowed him to break decisively in the eighth game of the opener.
Simon stuck to his task manfully to reach a tiebreak in the second set but Anderson looked on the cusp of victory leading 5-4 with a mini-break and two service points to come.
But Simon turned it round, saving one match point when Anderson skewed a backhand wide, before levelling the match.
The decider went with serve until 4-3 when Anderson, whose baseline game was solid throughout, snatched the Frenchman’s serve and he then duly sealed victory, predictably with an ace.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris