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SA’s Anderson dumped out of French Open

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Despite a brief fightback, South African veteran Kevin Anderson was knocked out of the French Open by young Korean Kwon Soon-woo.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa hits a forehand during the first round match against Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea
Kevin Anderson of South Africa hits a forehand during the first round match against Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, on Tuesday. Picture: Christoph Petit Tesson, EPA

CAPE TOWN – Just after veteran South African Kevin Anderson threatened a fightback, he was stopped in his tracks by young Korean Soon-woo Kwon in their first-round French Open clash at Roland Garros, Paris, on Tuesday evening.

After dropping the opening two sets Anderson looked like a million dollars in the third set when he blew his opponent away with his trademark serve. However, his fightback petered out, and his 2021 French Open sojourn came to an abrupt halt at end of the fourth set.

Anderson and Kwon were off to a fluent start as both players held serve in the opening four games. During this time, Anderson cracked three aces, and it looked like it could be his trump card later in the match.

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However, the players found the chinks in each other’s armour, and the first set became a protracted battle after both frequently battled to hold serve.

After 59 minutes, Kwon prevailed 7-5, thanks to a break of serve in the 11th game. Kwon could have ended the fare earlier, but he spurned three breakpoints.

Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea hits a backhand during the 1st round match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 01 June 2021. Picture: EPA, Christophe Petit Tesson

Anderson started poorly in the second set after he dropped serve in his opening game. He did not recover from this setback, and after 42 minutes, he was two sets down.

In the third set, Anderson showed far greater resolve, trading heavily on his booming serve. He sent down a raft of aces as he raced through the set. He managed two service breaks and closed out a 6-2 set win after 39 minutes.

This third-set performance suggested that Anderson was busy mounting a fightback, and he is well known for his powers of recovery. However, this did not materialise as Kwon stopped Anderson in his tracks.

He claimed a 7-5 tiebreak in the fourth set, allowing him to advance to the second round with a 7-5 6-2 2-6 7-6 (4) win.

Meanwhile, two SA players will be playing in the first-round doubles on Wednesday. Lloyd Harris will join Israeli veteran Jonathan Erlich, and they play the Argentine duo Federico Coria and Diego Schwartzman on one of the show courts.

South African doubles specialist Raven Klaasen and his partner, Japan’s Ben Mclachlan are seeded 15th, and they play the homeboys Mathias Bourgue and Lucas Pouille.

On Thursday, Harris will return for singles action, and he has a second-round date with Britain’s Cameron Corrie. If results go according to the form in other parts of the draw, the winner of this match will play 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal.

@Herman_Gibbs