LONDON - South Africa’s best have got off to a great start on the grass at Wimbledon.
Kevin Anderson surged through to the third round on Wednesday, with a comfortable win against Andreas Seppi (ATP 87), 6-3 7- 6(4) 6-3.
SA’s top doubles player Raven Klaasen and his American partner Rajeev Ram also bagged a straightforward first-round win.
Anderson continued to dominate with his serve as he did in the first round, as he fired off 16 aces. After struggling with some niggling injuries after his phenomenal French Open run and a lacklustre appearance at Eastbourne, which provided Anderson with just two matches on grass before Wimbledon, the South African number 1’s prospects were looking dull.
However, Anderson’s section of the draw has opened up significantly, as he ousted the dark horse of Fernando Verdasco in the first round.
Stan Wawrinka (ATP 3) had a shocking first round exit to the Russian young gun, Daniil Medvedev (ATP 49). However, Medvedev was not able to reproduce the same level of tennis and it is unexpectedly, Ruben Bemelman (ATP 126) from Belgium who stands in Anderson’s way of a fourth round spot.
After his first round victory, Anderson explained: “The courts are a little different this year, it feels like the grass is a bit longer. The ball is sitting and not bouncing up as much, so that is a bit of an adjustment. It’s different at (the practice courts in) Aorangi Park, but we noticed it as well on another court and a couple of players have had the same observation. It will be interesting to see if more people start talking about it.”
Anderson seems at ease in his temporary London home, where he is supported by seven members of his family, his coach and other guests. Even Lady Katie, the 31-year- old’s new Chihuahua-Dachshund diminutive dog has made the trip.
When talking about Lady Katie, Anderson lights up, “Yes, maybe she’s a lucky charm. It’s really relaxing, she doesn’t care if you win or lose and it’s always a nice perspective when you go home,” he said.
In the doubles, Raven Klaasen (ATP doubles 12) and his American partner Rajeev Ram (ATP doubles 13) are seeded seventh, since they made the semi-finals last year.
The pair have proved to be dangerous on grass as Ram dominates with his big serving while Klaasen cleans up at the net.
On Wednesday they took on Fernando Verdasco (ATP 35) and Marius Copil (ATP 85), and continued to build on their previous matches which saw them play finals and semifinals in the ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments preceding Wimbledon. They made quick work of the match with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory.