Anderson to move past Federer in ATP Tour rankings

Kevin Anderson (AP)
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - Despite his deflating second round loss against up-and-coming 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe in the ongoing Australian Open, top South African player Kevin Anderson will equal his career-best ATP Tour world ranking of fifth next week.

And ironically what Anderson can thank for the improvement in his pending ranking from a current sixth place is the relative early fourth round demise from the throbbing, record-breaking Melbourne Grand Slam event of legendary defending champion Roger Federer.

While Anderson's ranking points following the Australian Open will improve marginally as he lost in the first round of the event last year, Federer's stunning fourth round defeat against dynamic 20-year-old Greek "whizz kid", Stefanos Tsitsipas, cost him 1 820 points and a decline in his ranking from third to what is for him a modest sixth place - with South Africa's 6-foot-8 big server squeezing into the resultant fifth-place gap.

Statistics notwithstanding, however, the Australian Open proved what must be a sombre and untimely setback for the 32-year-old Anderson, who reached his first Grand Slam final in the US Open in 2017 and made it to the final at Wimbledon last year - and like South Africa's other two-time Grand Slam finalist, Raven Klaasen, in the doubles, was seeking a first notable major title.

Meanwhile Klaasen, whose hopes of Grand Slam glory in a conspicuously open and unpredictable doubles field in the Australian Open might have been more realistic than those of Anderson, did make it to the quarter-final stage with partner Michael Venus, but the defeat against Portugal's Joao Sousa and Argentina's Leonardo Mayer transpired against two players who are better known for concentrating on their singles prowess than in doubles - and this alone must have been a little galling for the South African-New Zealand duo.

And it was also something of a bittersweet Australian Open for budding South African No 2 singles player, the 21-year-old Lloyd Harris, who performed admirably in reaching what was only his second main draw of a Grand Slam tournament via a tricky qualifying segment, but then had the misfortune to be drawn against the conspicuously in-form Russian, Daniil Medvedev, in the first round and going down 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.

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