An­der­son over­comes Thiem in three-hour Citi Open marathon

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BIG-SERV­ING South African Kevin An­der­son squan­dered two match points be­fore fi­nally over­com­ing Aus­trian top seed Do­minic Thiem in a com­pelling three-set slugfest at the Citi Open in Washington on Thurs­day.

The clock had al­most struck mid­night when the 15th seed fi­nally closed out the thir­dround match with his 21st ace to seal a 6-3 6-7(6) 7-6(7) vic­tory in a lit­tle un­der three hours.

In a high-qual­ity con­test, 45th-ranked An­der­son seemed to have frit­tered away his chances when he wasted a first match point in the sec­ond set but re­grouped men­tally and even sur­vived a match point against him in the de­cid­ing tiebreak.

An­der­son’s power game is ide­ally suited to the su­per-slick cen­tre court sur­face at Rock Creek Park that has of­fi­cially been mea­sured as faster than Wim­ble­don and the Aus­tralian Open.

Thiem staved off defeat the first time after an 11-stroke rally cul­mi­nated with a whipped fore­hand win­ner into the cor­ner that An­der­son could only watch help­lessly as it whis­tled past.

The Aus­trian then cap­tured the next two points of the tiebreak to level the match at one set apiece and send the con­test into an ex­cit­ing de­cider.

“I felt I had it in the sec­ond set but I tried to stay as pos­i­tive as pos­si­ble,” 31-year-old An­der­son said. “I was down two breaks in the third but kept fight­ing and man­aged to play some of my bet­ter ten­nis.”

In qui­eter sur­round­ings on an out­side court, In­dian world num­ber 200 Yuki Bham­bri con­tin­ued his dream run.

After tak­ing out de­fend­ing cham­pion Gael Mon­fils in the sec­ond round, Bham­bri pro­duced a suc­cess­ful en­core to beat Ar­gen­tine Guido Pella 6-7(5) 6-3 6-1 and set up a quar­ter-fi­nal with An­der­son.

As play ex­tended into yes­ter­day morn­ing, Alexan­der Zverev beat Amer­i­can Ten­nys Sand­gren 7-5 7-5 in a match that fin­ished at 1:25 a.m. lo­cal time, with the Ger­man ad­vanc­ing to meet Rus­sian Daniil Medvedev in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Ja­panese sec­ond seed Kei Nishikori’s match ended 20 min­utes later as he saw off Ar­gen­tine Juan Martin Del Porto 6-4 7-5 to ad­vance to the quar­ters, where he will face Amer­i­can Tommy Paul.

In women’s ac­tion, top seed Si­mona Halep re­cov­ered from a poor start to beat Colom­bian Mar­i­ana Duque 3-6 6-4 6-2.

How­ever, sec­ond seed Kristina Mlade­n­ovic could not avoid an up­set when the French­woman was thrashed 6-2 6-3 by Cana­dian 17-year-old Bianca An­dreescu.

Next up for 167th-ranked An­dreescu is a quar­ter-fi­nal against Ger­man An­drea Petkovic, who blanked Cana­dian Eu­ge­nie Bouchard in the third set for a 6-2 4-6 6-0 vic­tory. – Reuters

BIG HIT­TER: Kevin An­der­son of South Africa in ac­tion against Do­minic Thiem of Aus­tria dur­ing their marathon match at the Citi Open in Washington.

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