24 February 2014
South African tennis ace Kevin Anderson narrowly missed out on capturing the ATP Tour’s Delray Beach Open for a second time when he was edged out by Marin Cilic in the final on Sunday, with the in-form Croatian winning 7-6(6) 6-7(7) 6-4.
It was Cilic’s second title of 2014 and the 11th of his career. It was also his 18th victory of the year, which leads the ATP World Tour.
Fourth consecutive final loss
Disappointingly for Anderson, it was his fourth consecutive loss in an ATP Tour final since he lifted the Delray Beach trophy in 2012.
The match, at three hours and eight minutes long, was the longest final in tournament history, surpassing the 1996 title match between Jason Stoltenberg and Chris Woodruff by 34 minutes
On his way to the title-decider, Anderson saw off the USA’s Tim Smyczek 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, got by Ivo Karlovic when the big-serving Croatian retired from their showdown, defeated 2012 runner-up Marinko Matosevic when he also retired with Anderson leading 7-6, and drilled Steve Johnson, who had beaten him in Auckland earlier this year, 6-2, 6-4.
‘I just didn’t put down the clamps’
Disappointed with the outcome of the final, Anderson said afterwards: “In the third [set], I just didn’t put down the clamps of getting back in the match and giving myself a chance. He was going to take one of his chances. He had a fair amount.
“If I would have capitalised a little more, I would have put myself in a better position to win the title. I was happy making the final, but obviously a little disappointed.”
‘I found a way’
“In the final some nerves can get into your body and you have to deal with it in the end. Luckily I found a way,” Cilic commented.
The tournament was the first for Anderson under former South African Davis Cup player Neville Godwin. The pair are undergoing a three-month trial to decide whether to make their coach/player partnership permanent or not.
In the doubles, South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and his American partner Eric Butorac, fresh off winning the US National Indoor Tennis Championships title in Memphis a week ago, were seeded second behind world number ones, the Bryan brothers.
The script did not go to plan as they suffered a shock first round exit, going down to the USA’s Sekou Bangoura and Vahid Mirzadeh after a third set super tie-breaker.