Johannesburg: Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist Somdev Devvarman advanced to the semi-finals of the South African Open after he fought back from a set down to beat local hope Rik de Voest.
The 25-year-old Indian star triumphed 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 after a 138-minute battle at the Montecasino entertainment centre here on Friday.
With this victory, Somdev made amends for his last year's outing in the ATP World Tour event here where he was eliminated in straight sets by Spain's David Ferrer at the quarter-final stage.
A couple of early third-set service breaks and Somdev was on his way. The victory moved the Indian within two matches of a USD 76,500 first prize and 250 ATP World Tour points.
Somdev broke serve in the first game and led 3-1 before De Voest rode on two service breaks, which helped the South African win five games on the trot and take the opening set.
The second set, too, saw Somdev take an early 4-1 lead before he dropped serve in the seventh game, which helped De Voest to force a tiebreaker.
As Somdev surrendered an early three-point advantage, the South African levelled via a backhand cross-court shot, but like in the first set, the Indian didn't buckle under pressure on this occasion and took the duel to the third set.
After engrossing contests in the first two, the third set turned out to be a one-sided affair with Somdev holding all aces.
"Rik is a great player whom I got on top of only in the closing stages and now I must face another South African (Izak van der Merwe) for a place in the final," said Somdev.
"We share the same coach and practise a lot together so we know pretty well how the other plays. It is great to reach the last four of such a prestigious tournament as the South African Open."