U.S. Open: South Africa’s Anderson sends out Murray

Andy Murray breaks his racket after losing to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson at the 2015 US Open… yesterday.               PHOTO: AFP

Andy Murray breaks his racket after losing to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson at the 2015 US Open…<br />yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

SOUTH AFRICA’S Kevin Anderson overcame world number four and tournament third seeded Andy Murray of Great Britain, in a battle lasting over four hours at the Louis Armstrong Stadium, New York.

The lanky, hard-serving player took the first set by seven games to six and survived a surge by his opponent in the third and fourth sets to advance into the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

In the second set, Anderson served first and took a 1-0 lead. He broke Murray’s service to take the second game and held serve to go up 3-0. Murray won his next service to take the fourth game and he put up a determined effort to break Anderson, who was forced to deuce despite being up 40-0 and survived four deuces before taking game with a service winner.

Although up 40-0 in the sixth game, Murray lost five consecutive points to hand the game to Anderson.

Serving for the set, Anderson double-faulted the first point, but lost the game to Murray despite hitting many aces and service winners. Murray held but the South African served well through a long-drawn game, to take the second set 6-3.

There was a mild drama when Murray returned ahead of his opponent, from a bathroom break, and complained openly to the umpire who told him that Anderson was within the time limit. The disgruntled Murray went down 0-40 and eventually lost the game when Anderson hit a service return winner.

Murray broke back and held his service. Thereafter, an exchange of breaks gave Anderson a 4-1 lead. Games went with serve until the tie-break that Murray took by seven points to two.

The fourth set saw a more determined Murray. The first three games went rapidly to the server. In the fourth game, Murray was down break point on his serve; and he needed three advantage points to hold serve. The ace serve that Anderson delivered to take the seventh game had Murray just walking to the changeover seat.

Each player delivered seven aces, but Anderson won the tie-break without dropping a point as Murray ran out of steam.

From the first set, a pattern emerged that determined the outcome of the match. Anderson delivered 25 aces to Murray’s 19. He committed 57 unforced errors compared to Murray’s 20; always an indication of the more aggressive player. The South African dictated the pace of the rallies, pushing Murray from corner to corner.

In his retrieving, Murray covered a total distance of 10,364 feet to his opponent’s 9,160 feet, in a match that lasted four hours and eight minutes.

In the end, Murray ran out of steam. The victory marked the first time Anderson would defeat a top 10 player and also reach the round of quarter-final in a Grand Slam event.

In 2014, he reached the fourth round of the Australian, French and Wimbledon championships. He did the same in 2015 in Melbourne and London. He had reached the third round of the US Open in 2010, 2011 and 2014. These are indications of a player making steady progress. His current ranking as the 14th player in the world would improve after the US Open. Anderson played in the Lagos Tournament in 2004 and turned professional in 2007.

In other games of the day, Roger Federer defeated American John Isner 7-6; 7-6; 7-5 in a battle of serves; Stan Warwrinka defeated American southpaw, Donald Young, who took the first set before the hard-hitting Swiss won the next three; 6-1; 6-3; 6-4.

Czech, Tomas Berdych overpowered France’s Richard Gasquet 2-6; 6-3; 6-4; 6-1. They now join Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, France’s Richard Gasquet, Craotia’s Marin Cilic, Feliciano Lopez of Spain, and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals.

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