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Kevin Anderson © Gallo Images

Anderson faces Tomic in Sydney final

South African tennis player Kevin Anderson became the first South African to reach the final of the Sydney International on Friday, after beating Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

He will face Australian youngster Bernard Tomic, who reached his first final with a 7-6 (12/10), 6-4 win over Italian third seed Andreas Seppi in sweltering heat.

The match is live on SS6 and HD1 from 10:30 CAT (SA, GMT+2) on Saturday.

Anderson, 26, fought off two match points to deny Frenchman Julien Benneteau victory and become the first South African to make the Sydney final.

The 36th-ranked Anderson won 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) in two hours 23 minutes.

He went one better than Wayne Ferreira, who was the last South African to play in a Sydney semifinal against Carlos Moya in 2004.

"This tournament has been going on for a while. There have been some very good South Africans in the past, most notably Wayne Ferreira," Anderson said. "So, yeah, hopefully I'll be able to take it one step further tomorrow."

Anderson was down match point on his serve in the 12th game of the third set but saved it with a terrific second service ace -- one of 18 for the match -- and then held with a crosscourt backhand to take the set into a tie-break.

Benneteau, playing in the Sydney semis for the third time in four years, faced a match point at 6-5 in the tiebreak before he had a second match point at 7-6, only to shank a forehand off his racquet and waste the chance.

Anderson brought up his second match point with an ace but failed to capitalise. He had more luck with his third at 9-8, putting away a crosscourt winner at the net.


It is Tomic's seventh straight win of the new year -- three of them at the mixed teams Hopman Cup, including a triumph in Perth over world number one Novak Djokovic.

"It's the start for me. It's going to be a big match. I'm grateful for this opportunity. I think I've got a good shot to win it," Tomic said.

"Obviously I've played Kevin once and won. He does serve well and he's a difficult player, but the tennis I've been playing now I'm really confident. I'll be ready to go tomorrow night."

Tomic struggled during a tough first set against Seppi and called for the trainer at 6-5 complaining of dizziness.

"It was really hot, but it wasn't the heat that was affecting me. It was just the dizziness. I think maybe because I ate too soon prior to coming out on court," he said.

The match swung the Australian's way in a titanic 22-point tie-break, with Tomic winning on his third set point after fighting off four set points from Seppi.

He broke serve in the ninth game of the second set with a fortuitous net cord on break point and powered through his service game to win the match.


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