CHENNAI, Jan 9: Indian wildcard Somdev Devvarman toppled world number 25 Ivo Karlovic to reach the semi-finals of the Chennai Open on Friday.
The 23-year-old baseliner counter-punched hard to subdue the big-serving Croatian 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 25 minutes to enter his first ATP Tour event semi-final.
The highest-ranked Indian at 202, Devvarman, who stunned former world number one Carlos Moya in the previous round in what has been a dream run in his home event, will meet fifth-seeded German Rainer Schuettler in the last four on Saturday.
Third-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic will meet Spaniard Marcel Granollers, seeded eight, in the other semi-final.
Devvarman, who is based in the United States, produced another inspired display to clinch the first set on a tie-breaker with a service winner as a partisan crown in a city where he spent his formative years loudly cheered for the home favourite.
The Indian displayed tenacity in the second set as he broke his 208-cm opponent in the 10th game to clinch a spectacular victory, hitting seven aces to Karlovic's 10.
World number 27 Cilic rediscovered his rhythm when it mattered most to shut out Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Cilic recovered after being blanked in the second set to win in just over two hours against a feisty opponent ranked 20 places lower.
"He wasn't playing too good in the first set, I wasn't in the second. I served really good in the third one and got away this time," said 20-year-old Cilic, who will be appearing in his second straight semi-final in Chennai.
Schuettler defeated countryman Bjorn Phau 6-2, 7-5 while Granollers beat Czech wildcard Lukas Dlouhy 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.