With Federer Win, Kevin Anderson Aims To Inspire A New Generation Of South African Players - UBITENNIS
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With Federer Win, Kevin Anderson Aims To Inspire A New Generation Of South African Players

The world No.8 is hoping to start a legacy back in his home country.

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Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

Aside from achieving one of the most memorable wins of his career, Kevin Anderson is hoping that it will trigger a resurgence in South African tennis.

 

Yesterday, Anderson caused the biggest shock in the men’s draw so far with a marathon victory over eight-time champion Roger Federer. The two players engaged in a tense five-set epic with the world No.8 prevailing 13-11 in the decisive set after four hours and 17 minutes of play. Hitting 28 aces along with 65 winners. It was the first time he has defeated the Swiss No.1 on the tour and only the second time he had defeated a top 10 player in a grand slam.

“In terms of my overall Wimbledon, it’s definitely a win that means a lot to me.” Anderson said about his win over the top seed. “It’s tough in the sense that I’ve got to get ready for my next match. I can’t dwell on it too long. Obviously a lot of  emotions are going on.”

Anderson, who is based in the American state of Florida, is the only South African ranked in the top 200 on the men’s tour. In fact, he is only one of four ranked in the world’s top 1000. Part of the reasoning for this is the lack of resources and funding that has been available to the national tennis association within recent years. Although Anderson points out that enthusiasm in the sport has not lessened.

“I’ve already gotten tons of messages of support back home. Obviously at this sort of event, playing against an opponent like Roger is going to have a lot of coverage. I really hope it’s an example of sticking to your dreams and keep believing in yourself.” He reflected.
“I always say I was in the same position, it’s not easy coming from South Africa, it’s very far from the tennis scene.”

The achievement of the 32-year-old has drawn praise from the highest officials within his country’s government. Sports minister Tokozile Xasa hailed him as a ‘true ambassador to his country.’ Meanwhile, president Cyril Ramaphosa paid a special tribute to Anderson and his compatriots.

Anderson will play John Isner in the semi-finals at Wimbledon on Friday in what will be a first for both players. Should he win, he would become only the second South African Wimbledon finalist in the tournament’s history. The first was Sandra Reynolds back in 1960.

“I have been at the top of South African tennis for pretty much a decade now,” Anderson told reporters last week. “I have always said my biggest hope is that players, especially junior players in South Africa, watch me. I’m a sort of source of inspiration for them to pick up tennis, to pursue it.”

In their head-to-head, Anderson trails Isner 3-8.

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Danil Medvedev and David Goffin reach the semifinal at Diriyah Cup in Ryadh

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World number 5 Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 to reach the semifinal at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Ryadh. The 2019 US Open finalist dropped just five points on his first serve and never faced break points.

 

The Russian player earned a break in the fifth game when Struff netted a forehand and held on his service game at 15. He sealed the break with a double break in the ninth game.

Medvedev broke serve in the second game with a forehand and raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. He hit three winners, as he wast serving for the match at 5-1, to close out the match setting up a semifinal against David Goffin.

“It was a great match. It’s never easy like this after the end of the season, holidays and in the middle of pre- season to know how you are playing at this moment. Today was a great match, beating Jan so easy is a great achievement because he is a great player, so I am really happy. The atmosphere was really god and warm”, said Medvedev.

Goffin beat Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-2 6-4. The Belgian player broke serve in the opening game, as Pouille made a forehand error. Pouille did not convert a break point at 1-2. Goffin went up a double break to open up a 5-2 lead with four winners.

Goffin went up a break at the start of the second set. Pouille broke back in the eighth game when Goffin hit a double fault. Goffin got his fourth break in the ninth game and sealed the win with a hold of serve.

“Super oragnisation. The stadium is really nice. First time for me playing in Saudi. It’s a great atmosphere. It was great for us and people in the stadium. It’s a nice court. It’s a nice court and stadium. It could be a nice centre court in a big tournament”,said Goffin.

 

 

 

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Fabio Fognini sets up semifinal against Gael Monfils at Diriyah Tennis Cup

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Fabio Fognini beat John Isner 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 1 hour and 25 minutes in the opening match of the Diriyah Tennis Cup, the first professional tennis tournament in Saudi Arabia. The exhibition tournament is held at the Diriyah Arena in Riyadh.

 

Fognini saved two break points at the start of the opening set. Isner fended off one break point in the second game. Fognini won eight of the nine break points to open up a 4-2 lead with a break in the sixth game. Isner broke back to draw level to 4-4. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break.

Fognini earned a mini-break to open up a 3-1 lead in the tie-break. Isner got back the mini-break to draw level to 3-3, when Fognini hit a double fault.

Fognini earned another mini-break on the seventh point to take a 4-3 lead before sealing the opening set 7-4 on the second of his three set points, when Isner made a forehand error from Isner.

Fognini converted his third break point chance in the third game of the second set with a forehand error from Isner and held his service game to take a 3-1 lead. Fognini did not face any break points in his next service games and held his final service game at love to close out the second set 6-4 in 31 minutes with a service winner in the 10th game.

“I won the first game of the tournament. It’s nice. It’s something I will remember for sure and the people will remember as it is first year we play here. I know they want to do something, especially to improve tennis in this country, so I am happy”, said Fognini.

Fognini set up a semifinal against Gael Monfils, who beat Stan Wawrinka 6-3 6-3 after 66 minutes. Wawrinka broke serve at 15 in the opening game and held serve to open up a 2-0 lead. Monfils got the break back in the fourth game in the fourth game when Wawrinka hit his forehand long. Both players traded breaks in the next games to draw level to 3-3.

Monfils earned another break in the eighth game with a forehand down the line winner and sealed the set with a service winner in the ninth game.

Monfils forced a backhand error to get a break at the start of the second set. The Frenchman went up a double break on return at 5-3 to seal the win in straight sets.

“So far it’s great. The offering they have here for us to perform is incredible. The people are very nice. I feel vert nice”, said Monfils.

 

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The ATP announces nominees for the Coach of the Year Award

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Apostolos Tsitsipas, Carlos Moya, Gilles Cervara, Nicolas Massu and Vincenzo Santopadre are the candidates for the ATP Coach of the Year Award. The five coaches have been nominated and voted by fellow ATP coach members. This award goes to the ATP Coach who helped guide his players to a higher level of performance during the year.

 

Apostolos Tsitsipas guided his son Stefanos to the ATP Finals title in London just one year after his triumph at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Apostolos and his wife Julia Salnikova (a former top 200 WTA player) started coaching Stefanos when he was just three. During a spectacular 2019 season Tsitsipas also won two more titles in Marseille and Estoril and reached the Australian Open semifinal and three finals in Dubai, Madrid and Beijing.

Carlos Moya guided Rafael Nadal to two Grand Slam titles in 2019 at Roland Garros and at the US Open and two Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal. Nadal ended the season as world number 1 player in the ATP Ranking and clinched the Davis Cup title at the Caja Magica in front of his home fans. Nadal has won five Grand Slam titles since he started working together with Moya in 2016.

Frenchman Gilles Cervara played a vital role in Danil Medvedev’s rise to the top five during a spectacular 2019 season. Medvedev won two Masters 1000 finals in Cincinnati and Shanghai, two ATP tournaments in Sofia and St. Petersburg and reached the final in Brisbane, Barcelona, Washington, Montreal and at the US Open,. The 23-year-old Russian player qualified for the ATP Finals in London for the first time in his career.

Former Chilean star Nicolas Massu started working with Dominic Thiem at the start of March. Under the guidance of Massu Thiem won his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells. The Austrian player continued his successful season winning in Barcelona, Kitzbuehl, Beijing and Vienna and reached the French Open final.

Vincenzo Santopadre, who reached a career-high world number 100 on 3 May 1999, has coached Matteo Berrettini since 2011 and guided the 23-year-old player to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open last September. Under the guidance of Santopadre Berrettini has become the third Italian player in history to qualify for the ATP Finals after Adriano Panatta and Corrado Barazzutti.

 

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