A Year After Contemplating Hip Surgery, Kevin Anderson Reaches US Open Final - UBITENNIS
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A Year After Contemplating Hip Surgery, Kevin Anderson Reaches US Open Final

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Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

Kevin Anderson has become the first South African player to reach the final of the US Open since 1965 after defeating Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3,6-4, in the semifinals.

 

Playing in the last four of a major time for the first time in his career, the 31-year-old recovered from a tentative start to tame his rival, who didn’t drop a single set heading into their last four meeting. Anderson’s tally of 22 aces and 58 winners was enough to cement his place in this history books. Becoming the first player from his country to reach a grand slam final since John Kriek at the 1982 Australian Open.

“It’s been a long road. These grand slams are tough. We’ve been privileged enough to play with some of the best players to ever play the game.” Anderson told ESPN after the match.

The long road the Johannesburg-player refers to is one filled with injury. At the start of the year Anderson dropped to as low as 80th in the world after experiencing issues with his knee and hip. At the end of 2016 he was told there was a ‘probable’ chance that he would require hip surgery. A procedure that could take up to a year to recover from. Instead, the 31-year-old defied the odds and eventually got his long awaited reward in New York.

“This is why we work so hard. It was an unbelievably tough match for me.” He said. “I was pretty nervous starting out, I’m sure Pablo was the same.”

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The encounter was one for the record books. Two first time semifinalist haven’t clash in a grand slam since the 2005 French Open. It was evident that nerves would become a factor in the match and it was Anderson who was first to buckle. Despite leading their head-to-head 2-0, the error-stricken South African struggled to break down a relentless Carreno Busta early on.

Midway through the opening set, a nightmare service game from the 28th seed secured the breakthrough Carreno Busta sought. A double fault followed by a duo of forehand errors from Anderson enable the Spaniard to break for a 4-3 lead. In control of proceedings, nerves didn’t appear to trouble a determined Carreno Busta, who sealed the 6-3 lead with the help of a speedy unreturned serve out wide. Prompting a mighty roar from him.

Seeking redemption for his lacklustre start to the match, which featured 18 unforced errors in the opening set, Anderson relaxed more in the match. Spurring himself on with numerous outbursts of ‘Come On,’ he battled to turn his fortunes around. Exchanging breaks during the early stages of the season set, his tennis soon frustrated Carreno Busta. A double fault by the Spaniard at 5-6 rewarded Anderson a golden chance to get back into the match by level at a set apiece. It was an opportunity sized as the 28th seed drew level with the help of a double-handed backhand winner.

Anderson’s comeback resulted in his opponent rapidly fading on the Arthur Ashe stadium. The following two sets consisted of him pilling on the pressure without facing a single break point as his opponent struggled to find a solution. Carreno Busta might be the higher ranked player, but his game plan wasn’t enough to get the win he wanted. Glimmers of the Spaniards brilliance were on display, but unfortunately for him that all it was.

A game away from the biggest final of his career, Anderson’s win was far from certain. Serving for the place in the final, the first point saw Carreno Busta prevail in marathon a 38-shot rally to electrify the crowd. Still, it was not enough to derail the former top-10 player. A smash down the line elevated Anderson to match point before the milestone victory was concluded with a Carreno Busta unforced error.

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In the midst of victory, people could have been forgiven for thinking he had won the entire tournament. In a somewhat unorthodox move, he went straight towards the stands to celebrate with his team. Providing his own version of Pat Cash’s memorable climb into the crowd when he won the Wimbledon title. It could have been an over the top reaction, but it was fitting to the mood. Finally the injury-stricken Anderson has got his break, nine years after his grand slam debut.

Anderson in the lowest ranked player to reach a grand slam final since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2008. Awaiting him will be either Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro. Two players he has never beaten before.

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Vasek Pospisil survives scare at Citi Open

The Canadian battled back from a set down in what was a tricky opening encounter.

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Vasek Pospisil was pushed to limits by qualifier Emilio Gomez in his opening match at the Citi Open.

The Canadian required three sets to beat the Ecuadorian qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 11 minutes of play. He hit a total of 10 aces en route to the second round.

 

” It’s always good to get through a tough one and I felt dialed in during the second set,” said Pospisil. “I was a little bit distracted during the first set but I am glad to get match play and getting the win is important so I am happy I got it done”.

The first three games of the opener went on serve and at 2-1 the Canadian had three chances to take an early break but the world number 165 saved all three and held serve. At 3-3, Pospisil played a poor service game and Gomez took full advantage by breaking him at love. That one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The Canadian was determined to stay alive in the second and broke the Ecuadorian early to take a 2-0 lead and managed to turn it into a double break for a commanding 4-0 lead. Gomez got one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the world number 61 would serve out the second set to force a decider.

The third set started with three breaks of serve but it was the Canadian that was finally able to hold serve and consolidate a break. That break was enough for him to serve out the match and complete the comeback.

Pospisil will next face the young American Sebastien Korda in the third round who is the 12th seed this week in the American capital.

” It’s going to be a tough one because he is playing some great tennis this year and he is an up and comer and a great player,” he said of Korda. “I will have to play really well to win that one because he is a dangerous player so I will have to serve well and return well”.

Other results

It was a busy day one at the Citi Open being held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC with some thrilling matches. Kei Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and Marcus Giron pulled a three-set comeback against Ilya Marchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the battle of the Belorussians, Ilya Ivashka beat Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Jenson Brooksby avenged a loss to the South African Kevin Anderson by beating him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi needed three sets to dispatch Yasutka Uchiyama of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Ricardas Berankis beat the American qualifier Mitchell Kreuger in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, and Daniel Elahi Galan beat another American Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Finally, in the last match of the day an American favourite, Jack Sock advanced to round two after his Japanese opponent Yoshito Nishioka was forced to retire due to injury during their match.

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John Isner Wins 16th ATP Title In Atlanta

The 6ft 10 American got revenge on his American opponent for the loss he suffered last week in Los Cabos.

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John Isner has continued his love affair with the Atlanta Open by ousting Brandon Nakashima to win the tournament for a record sixth time.

 

The sixth seed beat the American teenager 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 57 minutes. Firing a total of 21 aces and winning 81% of his first-serve points en route to the victory.

“I think if you count the last two weeks playing singles and doubles I played 12 matches in about 10 or 11 days so I have played a lot which is exactly what I need,” Isner said following his win. “Hopefully I can take this and go forward and build some momentum for tournaments ahead.’
This tournament has meant everything to my career it’s amazing”. He added.

The first set was extremely tight and neither player gave an inch in their respective service games. The opener was decided by a tiebreaker which Isner is accustomed to. Whilst the first set was tight, the tiebreaker was an even tighter affair Isner squeezing out a 10-8 win to take the first set 7-6.

Again the second set was competitive and again neither player got an edge on their return game. It was only at 5-4 that the Dallas, Texas native found himself at triple match point but the world number 115 saved all three.

Nakashima would save a fourth before holding serve and at 6-5, the world number 35 earned a fifth match point. That’s where he closed out the match and sealed the win and the title.

After the match, Isner was asked about his history of playing numerous tiebreakers throughout his career.

” I play a lot of those and it’s a situation I am comfortable in since I have been on tour forever,” he explained. “Honestly I think today (Sunday) I was just a little bit luckier and that’s what It really came down to. It’s amazing to be out here again playing on a Sunday and it was awesome”.

Isner confirmed that he will not be making the trip to Washington, DC for the Citi Open and instead he will take a week off after playing back-to-back tournaments in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He is next scheduled to be in Toronto for the National Bank Open.

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Casper Ruud Set For Career-High Ranking After Clay Court Hat-Trick

The young Norweigan player is closing in on his top-10 debut following his surge in success on the Tour.

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As some of his peers battle it out in Tokyo at the Olympic Games, Norway’s Casper Ruud has become a dominant force on the European clay.

 

The 22-year-old battled his way to a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Pedro Martinez in the final of Kitzbuhel on Saturday to claim his 12th win in a row on the Tour. It is the third consecutive week where Ruud has won a title after also triumphing at the Nordea Open and Swiss Open Gstaad. The surge in success has made him the first man to have won three ATP titles within as many weeks since Andy Murray did so back in 2011.

“I am shaking all over my body. It feels amazing,” Ruud told atptour.com. “I was very nervous at the end, I knew what I was playing for. Three in a row is something special. What a day to play the final, rain on and off all day.
“I’m just very excited and happy that these three weeks are over, and that I won all of them.”

All three tournaments Ruud has won are ATP 250 events but only once did he play a top 50 player. That was Benoit Paire whom he defeated 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, in the quarter-finals at Gstaad. In Kitzbuhel, he defeated Mario Vilella Martínez (No.167), Mikael Ymer (No.99), Arthur Rinderknech (No.91), and Martinez (No.97).

During his clash with Martinez, the match was interrupted by the rain and it didn’t end until 11:30 PM local time.

“It was tough… we know that the weather was a bit shaky so I was prepared [for the delay],” Ruud said. “It was a bit long there in the end. We came back, only played three games, and then we had to stop again. It was a bit annoying, but we had to keep the focus and try your best. It’s the same for the opponent.”

Ruud has now won four ATP titles this season after also triumphing at the Geneva Open back in May. Since the start of the 2020 season, he has won 45 matches on the clay and has defeated three top 10 players – Stefanos Tsitsipas, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini.

The Norweigan is now set to rise to a career-ranking high of 12th when the standings are updated on Monday. He will also go up to eighth place in the ATP Race to Turin.

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