at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – After another near-miss in the French Open, top South African tennis player Kevin Anderson is looking to Wimbledon to make an elusive quarterfinal breakthrough for the first time in grand slam tournaments.
“I tried my best out there,” said 28 year-old Anderson after his 6-3 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-1 fourth round defeat against Spain’s relentless fifth-seed David Ferrer at Roland Garros.
“He doesn’t let up at all. The pressure is always on, particularly when playing on his favoured clay court surface. Now it’s onto the grass at Wimbledon where I should hopefully be more at home.”
However, while the big-serving Anderson reached a last 16, fourth round, grand slam place for the fourth time – twice in the Australian Open and now twice in the French Open – his results in tennis’s pinnacle four tournaments have been least impressive at Wimbledon.
On three occasions, his nemesis in the grand slam events has been Ferrer, who also halted Anderson’s progress in last year’s French Open, as well as the US Open at Flushing Meadows in 2012.
In all, Anderson has managed only one set against the nine won by Ferrer in their grand slam meetings. The latest intriguing battle between the pair had all the trappings of another David and Goliath encounter, as the diminutive Ferrer fired an incessant barrage of ground strokes with the precision and power of a sling shot.
At 2m’s tall, Anderson towered over Ferrer when the players received the traditional briefing at the net from the umpire before the match started.
Despite serving nine aces and 42 outright winners, Anderson was outplayed in three of the four sets by a player who simply refused to make unforced errors.
Breaking Anderson’s service at all is no mean feat. Ferrer, however, managed to do it seven times.
“I played my best tennis in the first two sets and, although he came back strongly in the third set, I felt he was tiring in the fourth set when I was physically stronger,” Ferrer said afterwards.
Anderson, nevertheless, felt he had emerged with a lot of positives from the French Open and was now looking forward to the grass court season with renewed confidence.
But it is the pocket-sized dynamo Ferrer who goes forward to a quarterfinal clash at Roland Garros against perennial eight-times champion Rafael Nadal in a repeat of last year’s final.
Anderson, meanwhile, will be looking ahead and hoping for his best-ever Wimbledon result to end his quarterfinal bogey. – Sapa