Home Sport Anderson rides his ‘dark horse’ into US Open quarter-finals

Anderson rides his ‘dark horse’ into US Open quarter-finals

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Kevin Anderson thunders through

Kevin Anderson of South Africa reacts in his game againt Paolo Lorenzi of Italy on the seventh day of the US Open Tennis Championships at Flushing Meadows yesterday.

South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, regarded by pundits as a ‘dark horse’, powered his way into the 2017 US Open quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-3 6-7 (4) 6-4 win over the gritty Italian Paolo Lorenzi at Flushing Meadows yesterday morning.

It is the second time the 28th seed Anderson reached the US Open quarter-finals. He also did so in 2015 after he overpowered Andy Murray.

This fourth-round win was marked by Anderson dropping serve and a set for the first time at the year’s last Major although, in the end, it merely slowed down his march into the next round.

The unseeded Lorenzi who won the toss chose to be exposed to Anderson’s well-known thundering serve at the start. The 31-year-old South African blew him away with three aces in the opening game.

This was very much routine for every one of Anderson’s service games that followed. The 35-year-old Lorenzi was, however, able to stay in touch thanks to a raft of unforced errors from Anderson, mainly on return. The 10th game provided the turning point as Anderson broke Lorenzi, who advanced his demise with a double fault. Anderson’s 6-4 first-set win came after 35 minutes and seven aces.

Anderson looked far more adventurous in the second set coming to the net when opportunity beckoned as he wrapped up a 6-3 win after 39 minutes on the back of a 91 percent first-serve success.

Towards the end of the second set Lorenzi’s body language suggested he was fighting a losing cause.

That might well have been the case, but as the third set played out, Lorenzi found a second wind and Anderson’s hitherto stroll was reduced to a tenacious fight.

The drama started in the sixth game when Anderson was rudely shocked by Lorenzi, who went up 4-2 after breaking serve. Anderson managed to stay on course by breaking back in the next game and with the ensuing games going to serve the tie-break was needed to undo the 6-6 stalemate. This time, however, Anderson’s booming serve could not come to his rescue as the Italian dug deep to clinch the set 7-6 with a 7-4 tiebreak scoreline after a protracted 57-minute triumph to force the tie into a fourth set.

By this time, Lorenzi’s confidence was sky high and Anderson battled to impose himself on the match and he double-faulted in the sixth game to hand Lorenzi the game, and was left trailing 4-2.

Anderson again managed to break back in the next game although. Lorenzi committed a string of unforced errors in his next service game, which left him trailing 0-40 but incredibly he fought back brilliantly to win five points on the trot to hold serve for a 4-4 score.

Anderson only just managed to stave off Lorenzi’s fightback in the next game and at 5-4 he needed to do something special in the next game to consign Lorenzi to the 2017 US Open also-rans scrapheap.

And he did so emphatically as he toughed out a 40-0 margin in the next game to lift the fourth set 6-4 with a service break. – ANA