6 March 2012
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson captured the second ATP Tour title of his career on Sunday when he defeated Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-6 to win the Delray Beach International Championships. Previously, Anderson lifted the South African Open title in Johannesburg in 2011.
“It feels fantastic. It’s my first one in the United States, which is great,” Anderson told the ATP Tour’s website.
“I feel apart from South Africa, this is my new home. My wife Kelsey was here for the weekend.”
Former winners of the title include, among others, Lleyton Hewitt, Stefan Koubek Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish, and Juan Martin del Potro.
The victory lifted Anderson up to 30th in the world rankings and came not long after he had slipped a little to 37th a month ago after being sidelined by an injury.
The tall South African was seeded seventh for the tournament in Delray Beach and had to overcome some tough matches to make it through to the final. It all began relatively easily with a 6-4, 6-1 over Austin Krajicek, but in the second round Anderson faced Xavier Malisse, the champion in 2005 and 2007. The match went to three sets, with Anderson claiming a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
In the quarterfinals, Anderson faced fourth seed Andy Roddick. In a wonderful contest, the South African star fought back from a set down and saved three match points on his way to a superb 2-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 win.
Anderson’s reward was a semi-final showdown with top seed and world number 11 John Isner. Like the showdown with Roddick, the match pitted two big servers against one another.
It proved to be a very tight contest, but Anderson broke Isner once in the first set and the big American served a double fault in the second set tie-breaker, which was enough for Anderson to triumph 7-5, 7-6 as Isner dropped a tie-breaker for only the second time in 11 tie-breakers this year.
Anderson faced Marinko Matosevic in the final after the Australian became only the second player in the 20-year history of the event to make it through qualifying to the title-decider. The Croatian-born player had scored some impressive wins himself on his way to the last two.
He solved the problem of the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the first round, winning 6-3, 6-4, and then defeated sixth-seed Alexander Bogomolov 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
In the quarterfinals he saw off 2010 champion Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 to set up a semi-final match against Israel’s Dudi Sela. After a very hardfought contest, Matosevic emerged a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 victor to take his winning streak to 12 matches.
After his victory in the final, which lasted just short of two hours, Anderson said his mental approach had played a big role in his success. He told the ATP Tour: “I think at the end, I felt I was mentally composed throughout [the tournament]. I didn’t let any patches of bad tennis affect my mindset [this week].”
‘I think we have done well’
On court, after receiving the winner’s trophy, Anderson paid tribute to his coach, Louis Vosloo, saying: “Thanks for all the patience. Each day I try to work as hard as I can. I know I can be pretty difficult sometimes, but I think we have done well, so let this be the second [title] of many.”
He also thanked his parents for the opportunity that they had given him to play tennis and thanked his wife of three months Kelsey, whom he met when both were students at the University of Illinois.
“Thanks for coming out, I love you, and I’m so glad you were here to share this with me,” Anderson said to her.
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