Kevin Anderson, the 2017 US Open finalist, depended on his lethal serve to secure passage to the second round.
CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s Kevin Anderson survived an epic five-setter to defeat Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 in their US Open first-round match on Monday in New York.
Anderson, the 2017 US Open finalist, traded heavily on his lethal serve to secure passage to the second round. He sent down a raft of aces – 49 in all, in a match lasting 262 minutes. His final points came via back-to-back aces.
It was the third most aces in a men’s game in the history of the US Open. He shares the 49 aces milestone with Richard Krajicek of The Netherlands. Ivo Karlović of Croatia is tops with 61 aces, and he is followed by American John Isner on 52.
It was the second time that Anderson landed 49 aces in a Major. In a 2018 Wimbledon semi-final Anderson defeated Isner and cracked 49 aces in the match.
Anderson, a two-time major finalist, will next play 11th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina on Wednesday.
On Monday, Schwartzman defeated Ričardas Berankis of Lithuania in straight sets. The score was 7-5 6-3 6-3.
On Tuesday, South Africa’s top-ranked player Lloyd Harris will start his 2021 US Open campaign against the 25th seeded Karen Khachanov.
Khachanov will be on a high after winning the Olympics silver medal in Tokyo [he lost to Alexander Zverev] and was a Wimbledon quarter-finalist.
Harris has emerged as a danger man on the circuit in the past few months. After his Rafa Nadal conquest a month ago, the unseeded South African will command the respect of opponents. Harris defeated the 20-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets in the Citi Open second round.
Khachanov is highly fancied by the experts, but Harris is ready to pull off another giant-killing act. He says: “I have never felt better prepared for the US Open.”