3 March 2014
South Africa’s number one tennis player Kevin Anderson narrowly missed out on capturing the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico on Sunday, going down 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 to Grigor Dimitrov in an entertaining singles final. Anderson then went one better when he captured the doubles crown with South African-born Australian Matthew Ebden.
Having reached the final in the Delray Beach Open a week earlier, Anderson became the first South African to reach consecutive ATP World Tour finals since Wayne Ferreira won titles in Ostrava and Lyon in October 1995.
In a very tightly contested final, Anderson broke Dimitrov twice to the Bulgarian’s one break, but Dimitrov was better in the two tie-breakers, which helped him to victory in a shade under three hours.
Anderson had the title in his grasp, serving at 4-3 in the final set, but Dimitrov managed to break back before sending the contest into the deciding tie-breaker.
The South African star was left bitterly disappointed after seeing victory slip through his fingers, but he didn’t allow that to keep him down as he and Ebden teamed up to defeat Feliciano Lopez and Max Mirnyi 6-3, 6-3 in the doubles final.
Nonetheless, two finals berths and a doubles title in his first two tournaments under coach Neville Godwin is a very satisfying return for Anderson, who moved up to a career high number 18 in the latest ATP World Tour rankings after his recent exploits.
‘It was a great week’
“It was a great week, reaching the finals of both [events],” Anderson said after the doubles final. “It was a really close singles final. I played well and had my chances. Just a couple of points and it could have gone the other way.
“It feels good to go out there and win the doubles title with Matt. We had a lot of fun all week.
“We had some really close matches. He played really well and I was able to turn it around and actually feel quite good. All in all, it was a great week.”
‘I really owe it to him’
“It was the first time for us playing together,” Ebden said. “I’ve known Kevin since we were kids. We grew up playing junior tennis together. I was just really thankful that he was able to play through the doubles and the singles. It’s a massive effort by him. I really owe it to him.”
It was Anderson’s first ever ATP World Tour doubles title after two runner-up efforts in Washington and San Jose, while it was Ebden’s fourth doubles crown.
First ATP 500 final
The Abierto Mexicano Telcel final was also Anderson’s first final in an ATP 500 event. Both his previous titles were won in ATP 250 tournaments: the Johannesburg Open in 2011 and the Delray Beach Open in 2012.
On his way to the final, Anderson, the fifth-seed, saw off France’s Stephane Robert in the first round, winning 6-2, 7-6. He then got by big serving Sam Querrey 7-6, 6-4 before seeing off defending champion David Ferrer, who retired from the quarterfinals having won the first set 6-2, but down 2-4 in the second.
In the semi-finals, Anderson outlasted Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.
Fourth-seed Dimitrov, meanwhile, accounted for Marinko Matosevic, Marcos Baghdatis, Ernest Gulbis and top-seed Andy Murray on his way to the title-decider.