MELBOURNE – Big-serving fifth seed Kevin Anderson began his Australian Open campaign with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win Monday over Adrian Mannarino.
The South African, a runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year, had failed to reach the second round at Melbourne Park since 2015, but made no mistake this time round.
He lost a five-setter to Britain's Kyle Edmund in round one a year ago and had to overcome a second-set blip Monday, dropping his serve twice from a break up against the French world number 41, before prevailing in two hours 53 minutes on Melbourne Arena.
“It was really hot out here. I thought we were going to hit the heat rule, but no luck,” said Anderson, who faces either American Frances Tiafoe or Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran next.
“I was up a break in that second set and just let it get away a little bit,” he added. “I was happy with the way I was able to reset.”
In-form Anderson warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his sixth ATP title at Pune earlier this month, defeating Ivo Karlovic in the final.
“Every day I push myself to get better and better,” said the man who lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2017 US Open final.
“You've got to come out here and win the match. It is a difficult challenge but that is what it is all about.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)