Anderson has shot at deep US Open run

Herman Mostert
Herman Mostert

South Africa’s Kevin Anderson has an opportunity to go deep at this year’s US Open.

Anderson, who is seeded 28th for the year’s final Grand Slam, sailed into the third round with a straight-sets victory over Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis on Wednesday.

The South African No 1, whose progress was halted by injuries over the last two seasons, has experienced a resurgence in the last few months which has seen his ranking improve to such an extent that he was seeded for the Flushing Meadows spectacle.

Anderson’s best result to date at a major came at the 2015 US Open when he reached the quarter-finals after upsetting Briton Andy Murray in the fourth round.

That result catapulted Anderson to a career-high ranking of No 10, before the injury curse struck - so much so that his ranking dipped to a lowly 80th in January this year.

But the 6-foot-8 (2.03m) beanpole is back to full fitness and slowly regaining the form that took him to the world’s top 10 two years ago.

Anderson will also be buoyed by the relatively open draw he finds himself in at the US Open.

Anderson was scheduled to play rising German superstar Alexander Zverev in the third round, before Zverev was upended by fellow young gun Borna Coric of Croatia.

Zverev boasts a 4-0 head-to-head win record against Anderson, with three of those victories coming in 2017.

The German, who won this month's Montreal Masters, was also the bookmakers’ third favourite for the title behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Anderson would have been up against it against Zverev, but will be confident of getting past world No 61 Coric, against whom he holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage.

The tournament was already affected by four of the world's top 11 players pulling out prior to the start due to injury, before second seed and 2012 champion Andy Murray threw the cat among the pigeons by withdrawing after the draw was made.

Murray's late withdrawal - after the draw was conducted - made it impossible to rejig the fact that top-seeded Nadal and No 3 Federer were in the same half of the draw - and on a collision course for the semi-finals rather than what could've been a dream final.

With fourth-seed Zverev ousted, it leaves No 5 seed and 2017 Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic as the highest seeded player left in the bottom half of the draw.

The other remaining seeded players above Anderson in his part of the draw include Americans John Isner (10th seed) and Sam Querrey (17th), Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta (No 12), Frenchman Lucas Pouille (No 16) and Germany’s Mischa Zverev (23rd).

These are all accomplished pros, but players against whom Anderson will feel he has a legitimate shot at beating.

Should Anderson get past Coric, he will face an unseeded Italian - either Thomas Fabbiano or Paolo Lorenzi - for a spot in the quarter-finals.

A quarter-final berth for Anderson could mean a clash against Isner, the 6-foot-10 American, with Cilic possibly lying in wait in the semi-finals.

There’s no doubt there's still a lot of tennis to be played, but 31-year-old Anderson will know that this is perhaps his best chance at making a deep run at a Grand Slam.

As is often the case in tennis, the luck of the draw plays a large part in the outcome of tournaments, and the 2017 US Open is an opportunity for several players to stake a claim.

For the record, the last time a South African made the semi-finals of a Grand Slam was when Wayne Ferreira reached the last four at the 2003 Australian Open.

Herman Mostert works at Sport24, is a struggling golfer and enjoys tennis...

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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.
42% - 9821 votes
11% - 2623 votes
19% - 4443 votes
2% - 574 votes
1% - 214 votes
2% - 545 votes
5% - 1162 votes
8% - 1959 votes
3% - 789 votes
Water sports
1% - 210 votes
American sports
1% - 293 votes
3% - 748 votes