The South African, just three victories short of his personal best 2015 season (46), landed 19 aces and won 77 per cent of first-serve points to overcome his Spanish opponent after two hours and 26 minutes. If Anderson is able to capture his fifth tour-level crown on Sunday, he will become the sixth man confirm his position at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.
Anderson is enjoying his best season yet on the ATP World Tour with five championship match appearances (1-3). The Wimbledon finalist also reduces his FedEx ATP Head2Head deficit against Verdasco to 4-5.
Rio de Janeiro runner-up Verdasco was aiming to reach his second tour-level final of the season. The 34-year-old Spaniard lifted his seventh and most recent tour-level trophy at 2016 Bucharest.
An early break of serve proved the key for Anderson in the opening set. The South African charged into a 3-0 lead and, despite Verdasco’s marked improvement on serve, soon clinched a one-set advantage. In a tense ninth game, Anderson needed big serving in important moments before converting his third set point.
In a sequence of three consecutive service breaks, Verdasco made much-needed progress on his return in the second set. Having dropped serve just once in 29 games this week, Anderson was unable to manufacture free points as Verdasco rifled a backhand winner to secure a second break and soon levelled the match in the following game.
Failing to convert five break-point opportunities earlier in the set could have proved crucial, but Anderson returned with real intent as Verdasco served to stay in the match at 4-5. The 32-year-old connected on back-to-back returns and dominated rallies with his forehand to confirm victory on his first match point.
Did You Know?
This week, Verdasco reached 30 tour-level victories for the first time since 2012. The Spaniard achieved the feat in nine consecutive years from 2004 and 2012.