An­der­son car­ries SA hopes

AN­DER­SON, HAR­RIS AND KLAASEN TO FLY THE SA FLAG

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Wes­ley Boon

Ti­tle con­tender Kevin An­der­son will spear­head a three-pronged South African charge at the first Grand Slam tour­na­ment of the year when the Aus­tralian Open gets un­der­way on Mon­day.

Though he reached the fourth round ev­ery year be­tween 2013 and 2015, An­der­son was un­able to progress be­yond the first round at Mel­bourne Park for the last three years in suc­ces­sion, pre­dom­i­nantly due to per­sis­tent in­juries.

Cap­ping an im­pres­sive come­back last year, how­ever, the big-serv­ing 32-year-old climbed to fifth place in the world rank­ings and pro­duced a spec­tac­u­lar per­for­mance to reach his sec­ond Grand Slam fi­nal at Wim­ble­don.

In the form of his life, An­der­son was ex­pected to put up a fight once again af­ter giv­ing him­self a timely con­fi­dence boost by edg­ing out Croa­t­ian op­po­nent Ivo Karlovic to se­cure his sixth ca­reer ATP Tour ti­tle at the Ma­ha­rash­tra Open in Pune last week.

Turn­ing out as the No 5 seed on the hard courts in Mel­bourne, he was gear­ing up to face French player Adrian Man­nar­ino in the first round.

An­der­son, mean­while, was set to be joined by coun­try­man Lloyd Har­ris in the main sin­gles draw af­ter the 21-year-old prospect pro­gressed safely through the qual­i­fy­ing rounds this week.

The coun­try’s most promis­ing player, Har­ris qual­i­fied for his sec­ond Grand Slam tour­na­ment af­ter mak­ing it through to the main draw at last year’s US Open.

He was due to face Rus­sian player Daniil Medvedev in the open­ing round.

And dou­bles spe­cial­ist Raven Klaasen, a for­mer Aus­tralian Open fi­nal­ist, was set to com­plete the South African con­tin­gent at the pres­ti­gious tour­na­ment.

Klaasen and Michael Venus of New Zealand, the No 6 seeds, were look­ing to hit back af­ter a rel­a­tively dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance at Mel­bourne Park last year when they were elim­i­nated in the first round.

Pic­ture: Getty Images

LO­CAL AS­SAULT. Kevin An­der­son is one of three South Africans at the Aus­tralian Open start­ing in Mel­bourne on Mon­day.

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