Johannesburg – Top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson, who is seeking to end an alarming form slump in this week's prestigious Shanghai Masters, has found himself facing a minefield of obstacles in the draw.
The big-serving Anderson comes up against Romanian Victor Hanescu in the first round, and then faces eighth seed and world number nine Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round.
If Anderson progresses further, his likely third round opponent would be the in-form ninth-seed and recent winner of the Thailand Open and Japan Open runner-up Milos Raonic.
After reaching his goal for the year of making the world's top 20 players, Anderson has tumbled to early losses in all four tournaments since, with three first-round defeats and a second round exit in the United States Open.
The fall from grace reached a flash point earlier in the week when Anderson was beaten 6-4 7-6 (2) by 81st-ranked Slovakian Lucas Lacko in the Japan Open.
Anderson's woes started in the first round of the Canadian Open with a 7-6 (0) 6-4 loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov, before losing 6-4
6-4 to Tommy Haas in the first round of the Cinncinnati Open.
Then, after beating 51st-ranked German Danield Brands 7-5 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the first round of the United States Open, Anderson suffered a crushing 6-2 6-2 6-2 defeat in the second round against Marcos Baghadatis.
He took a month off from competitive play for most of September because of a niggling hand complaint, only to return to tournament action to suffer another first-round loss against the lowly-ranked Lacko. – Sapa