JOHANNESBURG - Perennial bridesmaid Kevin Anderson is looking more like the groom after winning a fourth career ATP title at the New York Open to launch him into the top-10 on the world rankings once again.
His climb to a career-high ninth place in the rankings completes a circle that would have felt like an eternal battle for South Africa’s top singles player.
He beat American Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) for his fourth ATP tournament title out of 11 finals.
Anderson moved one spot higher than his previous top ranking when he cracked the top-10 for the first time in 2015 before debilitating injuries brought on a slide to 80th place at the beginning of last year.
His victory in the New York final is a return to form after he was knocked out of the first round at the Australian Open by eventual semi-finalist Kyle Edmund.
"I have been runner-up quite a few times in my career. One of the big goals I had for this year was to try to be a bit more successful in that final stage," Anderson said.
"It feels great to come through and get the win. It gives me a lot of confidence for the year.
"Definitely feels very good to clear that last hurdle and walk away with the title. I've had a lot of very close matches this week.”
The South African beat Querrey in the quarter-finals at the 2017 US Open before going down to Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the final at Flushing Meadows.
Anderson and Querrey were the No 1 and 2 seeded players respectively with the two crossing swords for the 16th time, eight victories apiece.
“I think I can take a lot of confidence in the way I was able to come through those close matches,” Anderson said about his close encounter against Querrey.
“I was tested, every single match went to three sets, three of the four matches went to 7-6 in the third and I played some of my best tennis when it mattered.
"I think if you can come through those matches, you can really take a lot of confidence. My body responded well, that is always a big positive.
“I was able to keep on resetting and it was definitely a good testament to my attitude and my mindset which I work very hard on.”
Anderson will next play the Delray Beach Open where he will be the third seed opening his campaign against Russian Evgeny Donskoy on Tuesday.