Anderson Moves Closer To Parisian Breakthrough
Kevin Anderson had been 0-10 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-finals before breaking through for his first semi-final in Madrid this year. Now, the South African has a chance to break another streak, but at Roland Garros.
Anderson defeated German Mischa Zverev 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(4) on Saturday to advance to the Round of 16 in Paris. In the fourth round, against Argentine Diego Schwartzman, he will look to make the quarter-finals on the terre battue for the first time in four attempts (0-3).
"Today was a tough match for me. I felt for a lot of the match I was in pretty good control. From a stats standpoint, I think I was able to win quite a few more points, but tennis is very different like that," Anderson said. "He won some very key points. He's a very tricky player."
It has been a season of breakthroughs for Anderson, who sits at a career-best No. 7 in the ATP Rankings. The 32-year-old, who had not won an ATP World Tour title since 2015 in Winston-Salem, captured glory at the inaugural New York Open in February.
Anderson also broke back into the Top 10 for the first time since 12 October 2015, when he stayed in the elite group for one week. The Florida resident has remained there since making the breakthrough on 19 February, to what at the time was a career-high ranking of No. 9.
"I'm really pleased to get through. So far, so good," Anderson said. "It's coming here with high hopes and expectations, but you have to take care of each match. There's still a lot of tennis to be played."
The match was an opportunity for Zverev as well, as the left-handed 30-year-old had not won a match at Roland Garros in six previous appearances before making the third round this year. But Anderson was too strong on serve in the two-hour, 47-minute battle. The No. 6 seed was not broken in the four-setter, and won an impressive 84 per cent of first-serve points.
"Maybe people don't consider him a clay court specialist," Anderson said. "But the way he's played, it's still really tough playing him on the clay. He moves very well. He's had good results himself."
In Schwartzman’s two previous meetings against Coric, he did not win more than three games in a set, including their match on the clay of Marrakech last year. The No. 11 seed moves into the Round of 16 in the French capital for the first time in his fifth appearance, and he has now reached at least the fourth round at three consecutive Grand Slams.
Anderson has won his two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Schwartzman. And the matchup is a fascinating one — Anderson, at 6’8”, is one of the best servers on the ATP World Tour, while Schwartzman, at 5’7”, is one of the best returners.
"He's one of the best returners in the game. He's one of the best movers in the game. He's one of the best fighters in the game. He's a great ball striker from the baseline," Anderson said. "I'm expecting it to be a very tough match. I have to really pay attention to the kind of tennis that I want to be playing. Obviously, we play tennis very differently. But it's a challenge that I'm really looking forward to."