Kevin Anderson in ATP final again after 2 years


It has been an arduous comeback at times for South African tennis ace Kevin Anderson, who has dealt with a myriad of injuries during the past two years since cracking the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings in October 2015.
But the South African took another big stride in returning to that elite group on Saturday. Anderson hit 12 aces and saved all five break points to overcome home favourite Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 in the Citi Open semi-finals in Washington, D.C.
“It feels great. It’s great to get another match win today. It was definitely a tough match. I felt I did quite a few things well today, couple things I thought I could have done a little bit better. But most importantly I was able to get the win and give myself a shot at the title tomorrow,” Anderson said. “It’s a great start to the summer. It’s obviously a very big tournament so I’m very pleased to be through to the finals.”
The South African reached his first ATP World Tour final in two years, since August 2015, when he beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert for the Winston-Salem Open title, his third. On Sunday, Anderson will go for his fourth ATP World Tour crown and his first 500-level title when he faces German and fifth seed Alexander Zverev who upset second seed Kei Nishikori in straight sets.
“For me it’s really just about focusing on coming Sunday and really playing the kind of tennis I want to be playing. I feel like I’m on a great path, and if I continue to do that I’ll give myself the best chance on Sunday,” Anderson said.
Anderson reached three finals during that 2015 season – Memphis, The Queen’s Club, and Winston-Salem – which saw him finish at year-end No. 12 in the ATP Rankings. But last year, left knee, right shoulder and ankle and groin problems forced him to retire from two matches and withdraw altogether from nine tournaments. This season, Anderson worked through hip injuries to start the year but he’s gradually felt healthier, and his level and confidence have followed.
He entered the semi-final against Sock with a tournament-best 50 aces and having already knocked out top seed Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals. Sock, however, had yet to drop a set in Washington and looked to be regaining the form that helped him win two ATP World Tour titles on the hard courts earlier this season (Auckland, Delray Beach) and reach the semi-finals at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March.
Anderson, though, jumped ahead from the start and didn’t let up. He broke Sock to lead 2-0 and was vocal throughout the 36-minute first set, frequently saying “Come on” and keeping himself focused on the match despite sometimes windy conditions. In the second set, Anderson again broke early and pushed away danger with big serves. While serving at 3-2, the right-hander erased two break points with aces to maintain his break lead. He served out the set to advance in 91 minutes.
Source: ATP World Tour