Anderson carries SA hopes
ANDERSON, HARRIS AND KLAASEN TO FLY THE SA FLAG
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.
LOCAL ASSAULT. Kevin Anderson is one of three South Africans at the Australian Open starting in Melbourne on Monday.