Since his return from viral meningitis, Karlovic has shown that very little has changed in his game. A quarter-final run on the grass in Newport in his first tournament back would have given him some confidence and he is yet to drop a set in his three matches here in Bogota. Straight-sets victories over Juan Ignacio Londero, Igor Sijsling and Adrian Mannarino will have helped to conserve energy, and he has also won all four tiebreaks that he has played. Indeed, he is yet to be broken in the tournament and has faced just three break points. His serve is still the dominating weapon of old and it will be tough for players to break him as long as he is serving well.
Kevin Anderson is the class player in a weak field in Bogota and his progress has been effective. Straight-sets victories over Emilio Gomez and home favourite, Santiago Giraldo, showed a clear improvement and, although he only served six aces, his serve was well-placed and provided plenty of cheap points. His big groundstrokes are helped by the altitude and he seems to have adapted well, which is no surprise given he has excelled in tournaments at altitude in the past.
Their only previous meeting was on the grass at Queen’s back in 2011 where Anderson prevailed 6-4, 7-6. A match where very little separated the two players, a single break in the first set was enough before Anderson took the second on a tiebreak.
What They Said
“Kevin played a very good match. He served well and I had no chance. He was superior to me. I couldn’t do anything with his serve. It was always over 200kmh and I got very tense as I knew it was difficult to break” – Santiago Giraldo on Kevin Anderson after his 6-3, 6-3 defeat.
Given the altitude, it would be a major surprise if there was not at least one tiebreak here and the match will come down to who plays the big points better. I just feel that Anderson has the better return game and should just shade the tiebreaks, so I will side with the South African in a couple of tiebreak sets.
The Rest of the Matches
Fabio Fognini’s dream run continues as he saw off Tommy Haas again to set up a semi-final with Nicolas Almagro. The Italian is playing some glorious tennis and has shown no signs of fatigue yet, so I fancy Fognini’s run to continue against Almagro, who has struggled to find his clay court form of previous years. In the other semi, Roger Federer should see off qualifier Federico Delbonis without too many issues to reach just his third final of the year.
The other semi-final in Bogota should see home favourite, Alejandro Falla, back up his impressive win over Janko Tipsarevic against the young Canadian Vasek Pospisil. While the Canadian has plenty of potential, I suspect the greater experience will tell and the Colombian should make it through to the final.