Gilles Simon, pictured January 2, 2019, came back from a set down to overcome an erratic Paire in the last quarter-final clash of the day

Pune (India) (AFP) - Defending champion Gilles Simon on Thursday overcame tough resistance from fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Maharashtra Open.

Simon came back from a set down to overcome an erratic Paire 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the last quarter-final clash of the day in the western Indian city of Pune.

The 34-year-old Simon will meet world number six Kevin Anderson, who eased past Jaume Munar of Spain 6-3, 6-3, in the last-four match on Friday.

“Kevin is a tough player to beat for everyone, especially for me. I beat him only once in the final last year. And I said he is the best player I beat in a final,” Simon said of his next opponent from South Africa.

“It’s going to be difficult. You know how strong is his game and the stress he can put on with his serve… I will try to watch the match (2018 final) and see what was working.”

Veteran Croatian Ivo Karlovic also made the semis after a hard-fought win over former top 10 player Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Karlovic, two months from his 40th birthday, went past Gulbis, nine years his junior, 7-6, 7-6 to book a meeting with Steve Darcis of Belgium.

Darcis dispatched fourth-seeded Tunisian Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-2.