JOHANNESBURG – Flexing his muscles, Frances Tiafoe celebrated as he dispatched Kevin Anderson for a major upset in the second round of the Australian Open yesterday.
Tiafoe rolled up his right sleeve and slapped his bicep a few times after sending off the fifth seed 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the third round.
Anderson had a tough day on the court with his right elbow receiving extensive treatment after the third set.
The giant South African’s injury woes should not take anything from the 20-year-old Tiafoe’s energetic display to exact revenge on Anderson.
It was fourth time lucky for the American after Anderson beat him on three occasions in 2018.
It took some time and a few nervous moments for Anderson to shake off the numbness in his arm but he appeared to be fighting his way back into the match.
At 5-5 Tiafoe managed to break Anderson’s serve after the South African double-faulted on break point.
Anderson fought back to two break points but Tiafoe recovered to send the world number six packing.
The defeat added to Anderson’s bad luck at the Australian Open after he was bundled out in the first round in 2018.
He withdrew in 2017 due to injury and has been unable to advance past the fourth round in 11 appearances in Melbourne.
South Africa’s hopes of Australian Open success now rest on the shoulders of Raven Klaasen after he won his opening doubles match with New Zealand partner Michael Venus.
The duo clawed their way back from a set down to beat American Bradley Klahn and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“I am happy that we were able to turn things around and get a win today. It wasn’t easy out there, but it is the nature of the game,” Klaasen said.
“Now we look forward to a good day of practice and to make a few adjustments to hopefully play better in the second round.
“We look forward to the challenge and are excited to make a big push in the tournament.”
Klaasen said they were relieved to navigate their way past the first round, avoiding a repeat of 2018 when they were stopped in their opening match.
“It is always tricky to get going in a Grand Slam and I find that the first-round match is always a tough to play and today was no difference,” Klaasen said.
“We got off to a slow start, our opponents put together a good first set, but we were able to make a few adjustments to get us back in the match.”
Klaasen reached the 2014 Australian Open final with American Eric Butorac, where they suffered a 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt.