Anderson at his best in Wimbledon comeback

Kevin Anderson (Gallo Images)
Kevin Anderson (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - It might have been achieved against an enigmatic, if highly talented player who has cynically been referred to as "the man who is scared to win".

Nevertheless, Kevin Anderson's 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8), 6-3 opening round Wimbledon win over 35-year-old, unpredictable Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, can justifiably rank among his best in the blue riband tournament for a number of reasons.

In addition, it produced possibly the most thrilling and absorbing match on the opening day of the All England Club's grand slam event.

What's more, with a strikingly opposite effect, it banished the nightmare of last year's first round defeat at Wimbledon against Uzbekistan journeyman Denis Istomin after the big-serving South African had won the two opening sets.

On this occasion, instead of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, it was a case of forging a notable triumph from what was the looming jaws of defeat.

As for Verdasco, who at one stage of his vacillating career was ranked seventh in the world, it was yet another bitter setback after seemingly having victory in his grasp.

Irresistable while winning the first set while breaking Anderson's ferocious serve twice, Verdasco also held  the first mini-break of the second set tiebreaker and, in all, had four service break opportunities to take a 2-1 set lead.

Instead of maintaining his powerful left-handed serve, Spain's wayward talent inexplicably made the tactical blunder of trying to deceive Anderson with what cricketers would have termed "a slow ball" at the most critical moment of the match - and then followed it up with a double fault.

Earlier in his career, Verdasco's abundant skill had prompted Andre Agassi's training camp to take the capricious Spaniard under their wing in the expectation they had the makings of a grand slam champion - only to end up frustrated and disappointed over the inability to transform an immense talent into an appropriate degree of success.

Hence the "man who is scared to win" description was born - with Anderson capitalising to the full on his opponent's temperamental shortcoming, holding his own nerve in tightrope situations and sending down more than 25 match-deciding aces.

What's more, the South African's prospects of a strong run at Wimbledon heading into his second round match against Italian Andreas Seppi - who is not noted for his grass court expertise - was further boosted by the first round defeat of fifth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who had loomed as a potential early opponent for Anderson.

An inviting situation, but can he maintain his revived form?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 11437 votes
12% - 3302 votes
19% - 5158 votes
3% - 693 votes
1% - 269 votes
2% - 642 votes
5% - 1413 votes
8% - 2338 votes
3% - 926 votes
Water sports
1% - 247 votes
American sports
1% - 336 votes
3% - 902 votes