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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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gilles Simon and Felix Auger Aliassime reach the the semifinal in Marseille

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Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Vasek Pospisil 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 17 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5, before Tsitsipas earned his first break, when Pospisil hit a backhand long. The Greek star wrapped up the first set with an ace after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas claimed his second break at 3-3 with a backhand return and reeled off 10 consecutive points to seal the second set 6-3.

Tsitsipas fired 8 aces and won 26 of his 30 first service points.

“It was not easy. I knew I would have to fight and be dynamic. He plays a very aggressive brand of tennis, so every point has to be treated respectfully. I played with passion and patience, and my fighting spirit, when I am in the right zone. It means good things can happen”, said Tsitsipas.

Gilles Simon cruised through to an upset 6-4 6-0 win over Danil Medvedev to advance to the semifinal. Simon converted five of his six break point chances and lost his serve only once.

The French veteran will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-2. The young Canadian star broke serve four times and and won 83 % of his first serve points.

Gerasimov earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead, but Auger Aliassime came back by winning two consecutive games to win the opening set 7-5. Auger Aliassime converted his fourth break point in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and sealed the second set with another break in the eighth game.

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Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

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Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

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Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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