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Anderson Wins Hometown Title

Johannesburg, South Africa

Kevin Anderson© Reg CaldecottKevin Anderson won his first ATP World Tour title at the second attempt.

Fourth seed Kevin Anderson captured his maiden ATP World Tour title at his hometown event on Sunday as he came from a set down to defeat India’s Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg.

Afterwards, during the trophy presentation ceremony, Anderson announced he would donate R5,000 to the Save The Rhino campaign to stop the poaching of rhinos in Africa. As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Anderson received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $76,500.

Anderson, the top-ranked South African player on the ATP World Tour at No. 59 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, is the first player from his country to win an ATP World Tour title since Wesley Moodie triumphed at Tokyo in October 2005.

“There’s so many emotions running round right now," said Anderson. "Not only winning a tour title, but winning it here in South Africa is a great experience and memory I’ll have for the rest of my life. I’m just really thankful that I was able to come out and play here.

“Hopefully I can keep going and keep getting better. I’m going to keep working hard. There’s still a lot I want to achieve. It’s a great honour being mentioned with the Wayne Ferreiras of South African tennis; it’s definitely an exciting prospect for me."

Playing Devvarman for the second time, Anderson recovered from an early 1-3 deficit, but was broken again in the seventh game as the unseeded Indian took the first set. However, Anderson hit back in the second set with a break of serve in the sixth game before reeling off five straight games from 1-2 in the third set to wrap up victory in two hours and 19 minutes.

Afterwards, Anderson admitted that a lengthy rain delay after just three games in the first set helped to settle his nerves. "I think the rain played a little part in helping me re-focus and re-set and I really felt I came out there a different person. Even though I lost the first set, I was able to turn things around and play really good in the second and third sets."

The 24-year-old Anderson clinched his first ATP World Tour title in his second final, having finished runner-up in Las Vegas (l. to Querrey) in March 2008. The 6'8" right-hander has made a career-best start to the season, also reaching the semi-finals in Brisbane (l. to Roddick) in the first week of the year.

World No. 110 Devvarman was also bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title and dropped to a 0-2 record in finals, having also finished runner-up to Marin Cilic in Chennai two years ago. The 25 year old hit form this week, having failed to win a tour-level match in 2011 prior to his run in Johannesburg. 

“I felt I was very comfortable in the first set, obviously," reflected Devvarman. "But in the middle of the second set, when I lost serve there, I think that was the turning point for sure because up till that point I felt I was more comfortable. I felt I had had more chances on his serve than he had on mine. Once you give a good player like Kevin [that] kind of confidence and advantage, it’s always tough to come back, especially with the way he serves.

“It’s disappointing that I lost, but it’s exciting because I see a lot of areas in my game that can improve. So I’m going to go back to the drawing board and try and get better."

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