Anderson dreams of rematch - with AB de Villiers

Kevin Anderson (AFP)
Kevin Anderson (AFP)

London - South Africa's Kevin Anderson reached the fourth round of Wimbledon for the third time on Friday but admitted he had cricket on his mind.

With his beloved Proteas taking on England in the first Test on the other side of London at Lord's, the 31-year-old will be keeping a close eye on the match.

However, he has two regrets.

He won't be able to pay a first ever visit to the ground and he's sorry that regular South Africa captain AB de Villiers won't be playing.

"I played AB at tennis a long time ago. He was 12 and I was 10. He was a good tennis player and he beat me," recalled Anderson of de Villiers who is sitting out the Test series.

"We keep in touch but I am still waiting for a rematch."

Anderson made the last 16 at Wimbledon on Friday with a confident 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) win over Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans.

But with a fourth round match-up against either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Sam Querrey on the horizon, Anderson's long-held dream of getting to the home of cricket will have to be postponed a little longer.

"I know that Saturday at Lord's is always a special day but I will have to watch it on TV," he said.

"I have to keep my priorities and that will be my recovery for the second week."

Anderson is right to be cautious after his recent spate of injuries.

A former top 10 man in 2015, he only played a limited schedule in the first half of 2016 due to a shoulder injury and ankle surgery.

In January, his ranking slipped to 80, its lowest for seven years.

A hip injury sidelined him from the Australian Open, ending his run of 28 consecutive Grand Slam appearances.

Then a thigh injury forced him to quit his fourth round tie against Marin Cilic at the French Open.

But with his ranking now at 42, he says he is 100-percent fit.

"I feel like I am playing really good tennis lately. I feel healthy and what happened at the French Open was just a hiccup," he said after becoming the seventh South African man to win 50 Grand Slam matches.

"I am really pleased with how the three matches here have gone."

He added: "I have worked hard on my grass court game and I think it's a surface which suits first strike tennis."

With no cricket to watch in person and with Sunday off before the last-16 is played on Monday, Anderson can at least enjoy the weekend with wife Kelsey and their new rescue dog, Lady Katy.

"She will be wondering where I am," said Anderson. "She's part of the family and she gets to travel with us. It puts things in perspective."

Wimbledon results on Friday, the fifth day of the 2017 championships at the All England Club (x denotes seeding):

Men

Third round

Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x28) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5

Benot Paire (FRA) bt Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x30) 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

Gilles Muller (LUX x16) bt Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 6-4

Roberto Bautista (ESP x18) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x9) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3

Marin Cilic (CRO x7) bt Steve Johnson (USA x26) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Suspended due to darkness:

Sam Querrey (USA x24) leads Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x12) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 6-5

Women

Third round

Ana Konjuh (CRO x27) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x8) 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-4

Venus Williams (USA x10) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x13) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-5, 7-5

Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) bt Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-1, 7-5

Johanna Konta (GBR x6) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-4, 6-1

Caroline Garcia (FRA x21) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-4, 6-3

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4

Simona Halep (ROM x2) bt Peng Shuai (CHN) 6-4, 7-6 (9/7)

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