Kevin Anderson, the World No 14 from South Africa, stormed into the semifinals of the Tata Open Maharashtra with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 win against Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan).
The encounter went deeper than what was expected. Kukushkin, the first player to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam (Australian Open 2012) with a Kazakh passport, is now a seasoned customer. He almost stunned the tournament second seed bagging the first set. But Anderson turned the tide. He equalised with a 6-4 win in the second set.
“Kukushkin plays very different from other players. He is a crafty player, it takes a bit of adjustment to play him. The game got a bit away for a while, but I had to keep my calm. There was more rhythm in the second set,” Anderson said, after the match.
Cilic tames Herbert, reaches semis
“I feel I didn’t play well in the tie-breaker. The focus was to stay competitive and stay even. A few points in the first set would have made me happy but these are the lessons you get in tennis,” he added.
On the other hand, Benoit Paire became the fourth semifinalist of the event, after Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon and Anderson. He beat Robin Haase 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
“I didn’t practise well in the off season, so I had blisters on my wrist. But it was a good match today. The most important thing is to win. It would be a tough match to play Anderson. I played only two matches, usually I end up playing five,” said Paire.
“I am 28. My career has ups and downs. Sometimes, I play well. But there are bad moments too. I think now I am more focused on tennis. I want to win matches and tournaments. I want to do better. The most important thing for me is to play every tournament. Even if I don’t play well, I want to keep fighting,” he added.
Singles: M Cilic bt PH Herbert 6-3, 6-2; G Simon bt R Ojeda 6-2, 6-3; K Anderson bt M Kukushkin 6-7, 6-4, 6-2; B Paire bt R Haase 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Doubles: Y Bhambri/D Sharan bt R Lindstedt/F Skugor 7-5, 2-6, 10-6; R Haase/M Middelkoop bt A Shamasdin/N Skupski 6-3, 7-5; PH Herbert/G Simon bt R Bopanna/Jeevan N 6-3, 7-5.
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