Unexpecting might be too strong a word since Vijay Singh knew quite well what Els had done the day before to the golf worlds recent match play guru Colin Montgomerie. An opening 60 in Fridays first 18 left the resurgent Monty dazed and confused.
Going 1-up on the matchs first hole, Els never looked back as well as never trailed in his semi-final showdown with Singh.
Though Singh had done a number on Els fellow South African, Retief Goosen, a day earlier, the Fijian proved to be unable to take on and defeat South Africas best all by himself.
Just as he did in his match against Montgomerie, Els jumped on his opponent early, going as much as 4-up in only a matter of five holes. Though bogeys by Singh helped Els to that comfortable lead, a couple a birdies and a rare slip-up by Els got Singh back to only 1-down after the 15th hole.
But back-to-back bogeys by Singh quickly gave Els another 3-up lead as they headed to lunch.
Els built on his lead and got it to a whopping 5-up advantage by the 23rd hole. An eagle and a birdie by Singh closed the gap, but they ultimately were in vain as Els finished him off 3-and-2 at the 34th hole.
In the days other semi-final, Spains Sergio Garcia and New Zealands Michael Campbell had a battle that came down to the wire.
Garcia, the worlds 5th ranked player, got in trouble from the outset with a bogey on the opening hole, followed by a birdie by Campbell at the second to quickly fall 2-down.
Campbell got it to 3-up before the young Spaniard chipped away and managed to get the match to all square by lunchtime.
Spending most of the afternoon all square, Garcia grabbed his first lead with a birdie on the par-5 12th, their 30th hole of the day. A bogey by Campbell at the next gave Garcia an in-the-blink-of-an-eye 2-up lead, which he would not relinquish.
A chip in for eagle at the par-5 17th and Garcia had reach the finals with a 2-and-1 victory.
Garcia is seeking his first Cisco match play title while Els is gunning for a record-breaking fourth.
Scores from the Cisco World Match Play Championship