Pune, India: Croat Ivo Karlovic on Friday became the oldest man in more than four decades to reach an ATP final after beating Steve Darcis at the Maharashtra Open in Pune.
Karlovic, who turns 40 next month, follows in the footsteps of Australian legend Ken Rosewall who reached a tour-level final aged 43 at Hong Kong in 1977.
Karlovic defeated Darcis of Belgium 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a title clash with world number six Kevin Anderson of South Africa who in turn served out defending champion Gilles Simon of France in straight sets.
"Yes, I know that I am old. But I am happy that I am still here in all these years with (many) ups and downs and injuries. And I am able to do this here is unbelievable," Karlovic said after the win at the hard court event.
"I have been calm and it has helped me in my career," the 2.11 meters (6 feet 11 inches) tall Karlovic added.
Big-serving Karlovic, currently ranked 100, hit 33 aces in the one hour 55 minute battle against the unranked Darcis, who missed all of 2018 due to injury.
Karlovic, who had already made history this week by becoming the oldest tour-level semi-finalist since Jimmy Connors made the last four at 1993 San Francisco, has now reached seven of his 19 ATP Tour finals after turning 35.
In the second semi-final, Anderson avenged his 2018 final loss in the Indian tournament to Simon after serving past the Frenchman 6-3, 7-6 in one hour and 48 minutes.
Anderson, 32, dominated play against his 34-year-old opponent as he smashed 21 aces.
"I think from the mental side, just trusting myself, believing in my game and obviously staying healthy. If I can keep all those ingredients going, I feel I can continue to play better and better tennis," Anderson said.
"I've played Ivo a few times. He is playing well, great to see him back. He is a true veteran of the game. We know each other well, so looking forward to coming out and playing him tomorrow."
The South African has been on a roll since his breakthrough 2018 season in which he won two titles in New York and Vienna.
The top-seeded Anderson enjoys a 3-1 ATP series head-to-head against Karlovic, with their most recent meeting coming at the Roland Garros in 2014.