SA's Kevin Anderson i back to winning ways in Miami. Photo: ATP World Tour

MIAMI – After more than two months away from the court, Kevin Anderson made a triumphant return to action on Saturday when he kicked off his campaign at the Miami Open presented by Itau with a hard-fought win over Jaume Munar.

Appearing in his first tournament since the Australian Open in January due to a right elbow injury, the World No 7 overcame a stern test from the 21-year-old Spaniard to advance 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. He needed two hours and 12 minutes to battle to victory, firing 17 aces while converting three of seven break chances.

"It was all good and I was really pleased with the way [the elbow] felt," Anderson said. "To get through in three sets, it felt really good to be back out there. I'm happy with how the elbow responded. I feel like I'm hitting the ball great."

"It's always different playing matches than hitting in practise, but I've been able to up my load and how much I'm able to serve. That's really encouraging and that's why I felt good coming into this week. I've been able to do everything but hit serves recently. I always had the confidence that as soon as I got over that hurdle, I was going to find my form pretty quickly."

Anderson, who lifted the Pune trophy to kick off the season, withdrew from New York, Delray Beach and Indian Wells in recent months. But, on the mend and looking to push towards a Top 5 return, the 32-year-old is targeting a deep run at Hard Rock Stadium. 
His mettle was tested early and often against Munar, having to battle back from a break deficit in the first set and overcome a second set hiccup to win in a decider.

A quarter-finalist last year in Miami (l. to Carreno Busta), Anderson is making his 10th appearance at the ATP Masters 1000 stop. 

He will next face Joao Sousa of Portugal in the third round. It will be their first FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter since 2016, when Sousa prevailed on the clay of Nice. 

African News Agency (ANA)