DELRAY BEACH OPEN BY THE VENETIAN® LAS VEGAS 2014
Anderson Closing On Second Delray Beach Title, Faces Cilic In Final
Delray Beach, U.S.A.
by ATP Staff|
Fourth seed Kevin Anderson is one win away from capturing the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian® Las Vegas crown for the second time. The South African advanced to the final on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over American qualifier Steve Johnson.
Anderson won his second ATP World Tour title in Delray Beach two years ago with victory over Marinko Matosevic. The Delray Beach resident has a 2-4 finals record, including three runner-up finishes last year, and will face Marin Cilic on Sunday.
Both Anderson and Johnson enjoyed standout collegiate careers and were meeting for the second time this season on the ATP World Tour. Anderson avenged the loss he suffered to Johnson in Auckland as he fired 13 aces and converted three of his eight break points, sealing victory in 76 minutes.
"I think from the first game, getting that break was really key for me," said Anderson. "I was really happy with the first four games; I was really capitalising on his second serves. That set the tone for the match. I was really happy with the way I executed my serve today. I've always enjoyed playing here. The surface is one I enjoy playing on. I've played some good matches this year. I'm excited for the final tomorrow."
"I was definitely a little uptight out there," admitted Johnson. "It was my first [ATP World Tour] semi-final. I think if I'd won that first game it would have changed the whole course of the match. But credit to him, he played a good game and returned very well today."
Anderson will face Cilic for the fifth time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, having won their most recent meeting in Rome last year. It was the first victory for the South African, who trails 3-1 in the rivalry.
The seventh seed Cilic advanced to his third final in succession for the first time in his career, putting away John Isner 7-6(5), 6-3 on his sixth match point. The World No. 29 overcame nine aces, firing 12 of his own and converting on one of seven break points garnered.
The Croat arrived in Delray this week after collecting the 10th title of his career at home in Zagreb and reaching the final at the first ATP World Tour 500 event of the season in Rotterdam (l. to Berdych).
"It's been the best three weeks I've played in my life," said Cilic. "It shows that I can keep my consistency. It's better when you're winning in two sets, but today wasn't easy. With John you always have to be careful of his big serve. It's a matter of a couple points here and there that can change the match."
The World No. 13 Isner was bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour final of the year and first in Delray Beach. He beat Yen-hsun Lu in the Auckland final last month. Isner, who entered the match with an 8-2 tie-break record, dropped the first set tie-break after a three hour rain delay pushed the start of the match to 11:30pm local time.
Cilic improved to 4-0 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head against the former University of Georgia standout, winning their last eight sets played. It was his 21st consecutive victory against an American opponent.
Bryans Reach 143rd Final
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will look to claim their first title of the year and 94th overall after routing fellow Americans Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock 6-2, 6-1 in the Delray Beach semi-finals. The Bryans are coming off a defeat in the Memphis final a week ago and are seeking their first trophy since claiming the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in Paris last year.
Frantisek Cermak and Mikhail Elgin reached their first ATP World Tour final in just their third tournament together as they defeated Samuel Groth and Max Mirnyi 6-4, 3-6, 10-8 in 78 minutes. The 37-year-old Cermak will challenge for his 30th ATP World Tour doubles title and first since Moscow in 2012 (w/ Mertinak). Elgin, 32, will contest his third final (1-1 record).