LONDON: South Africa’s Kevin Anderson advanced to the last eight for the first time after defeating Spanish fifth seed Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (12/10), 7-6 (9/7) at Queen’s yesterday.
Anderson, seeded ninth, had never been past the last 16 in his previous four visits, but he finally broke that sequence with an impressive victory over world No17 Lopez.
At a towering 6ft 8in (2,03m), Anderson can fire down serves with a potent combination of high bounce and fearsome power and, with his ground-strokes improving, he has risen to 30th in the world rankings.
Lopez has solid grass-court pedigree, and reached the Queen’s semi-finals in 2010 and the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, but he fell behind against Anderson as the 26-year-old broke for a 3-1 lead.
Anderson’s nerve failed him as he served for the set and Lopez took advantage to break back.
It took an epic tie-break to settle the set and Anderson’s composure held this time as he saved three set points before finishing it on his third set point.
The second set followed the same pattern and again it required a tense tie-break.
After missing his first match point, Anderson – known as Çannonball Kev’ – finally ended Lopez’s resistance to set up a quarter-final clash with Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, who ended giantkiller Nicolas Mahut’s hopes of emulating his 2007 Queen’s final appearance with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory.
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the latest star to suffer a shock exit from the pre-Wimbledon warm-up as the world No 5 was beaten 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) by Croatia’s Ivan Dodig yesterday.
Tsonga reached the final here last year, losing to Andy Murray, and became the first player ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down at a Grand Slam in the Wimbledon quarter-finals a few weeks later.
Dodig will face 2010 Queen’s winner Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals after the American defeated Julien Benneteau 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. – Sapa-AFP