Kevin Anderson’s struggles in Melbourne continued on Wednesday as he crashed out of the Australian Open at the second round stage.
Anderson‚ the No 5 seed‚ had no answer to the power and athleticism of 20-year-old American Frances Tiafoe‚ who took the match 4-6 6-4 6-4 7-5 in two hours and 59 minutes.
It was perhaps the best win of the 39th ranked Tiafoe’s career and only the second time he has advanced into the third round of a Grand Slam.
For Anderson‚ his record at the Australian Open now reads 12 wins and 11 losses‚ which included last year’s first round exit. Despite good form coming into Melbourne‚ and a deep well of experience‚ Anderson just couldn’t match the American from the middle of the second set.
Anderson‚ 32‚ won the first set and was 3-0 up in the second‚ when the momentum of the match switched the way of the youngster.
Tiafoe broke back and then gradually wrestled control of the match with his ability to neutralise Anderson’s first serve while taking advantage on the South African’s second serve.
Tiafoe won 24 of 47 points (51%) on the Anderson second serve while also taking a respectable 23 points off his first serve. By contrast Anderson only managed to win 16 points on Tiafoe’s first serve and 15 on his second.
The net result was that Tiafoe fashioned 14 break point opportunities‚ taking four of them while Anderson only managed to earn six break points‚ winning two.
Despite hitting 50 winners‚ Anderson also made 35 unforced errors.
Tiafoe’ played an intelligent match‚ working the 2.03m tall Anderson around the court‚ making him come forward and play shots off his feet.
Anderson beat Tiafoe three times in 2018‚ but each time it was a battle with two of the matches going the distance. It was never a comfortable match-up for Anderson‚ who will rue another missed opportunity in Melbourne.
Tiafoe will face Italy’s Andreas Seppi on the eve of his 21st birthday.
“I would love to get into the second week of a Slam‚” said Tiafoe.
“If I’m in the tournament that day [of his birthday] and beat somebody‚ that’s the best present I can get.
“It means the world to me. I lost to Kevin three times last year‚ and down a set and a break it looked like he was going to get it for the fourth time. But I just went to a different place – I dug insanely deep.
“It’s all about competing. These guys are insanely good. It’s how bad do you really want it‚ and I want it real bad.”
Article sourced from Sowetan Live