Kevin Anderson Becomes First South African to Enter Wimbledon Last 16 Since 2000

Updated: 28 June 2014 09:47 IST

Kevin Anderson registered a 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini in the third round.

Kevin Anderson Becomes First South African to Enter Wimbledon Last 16 Since 2000
Kevin Anderson emulated Wayne Ferreira's run to the last 16 in 2000 and in the process secured only his second win over a top 20 seed in a Grand Slam. © AP

London:

Kevin Anderson admitted he was thrilled to become the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for 14 years with a 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini on Friday.

Anderson fought back from two sets to one down to emulate Wayne Ferreira's run to the last 16 in 2000 and in the process secured only his second win over a top 20 seed in a Grand Slam.

The 28-year-old, seeded 20th, will play defending champion Andy Murray or Spanish 27th seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the quarter-finals.

Anderson last year became the first South African man since Ferreira in 2004 to reach the Wimbledon third round and the world number 18 has now gone one better to equal his best ever performance at the Grand Slams after also reaching the last 16 at the French and Australian Opens.

"It's fantastic. Feels great to be through, being in the second week of Wimbledon is fantastic," Anderson said.

"I've been in the fourth round a couple of times at the Australian and French and fell a round short here last year.

"But just starting this week I felt like I was feeling good on grass. It's been a very enjoyable tournament for me so far.

"Today was a crazy match, so many ups and downs playing against a tricky opponent.

"I've been facing the challenges that I've had so far and dealing with little scenarios within the matches as well."

Kevin Curren holds the record for best performance by a South African man at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-finals in 1983.

Curren later finished as Wimbledon runner-up in 1985 while representing the United States.

If Anderson is to emulate Curren's 1983 feat, he will have to hope his back holds up after lengthy treatment during the first set.

"It was weird. I think I was a little nervous going out, my first time being in this position at Wimbledon, and I just got a little stiff and it affected the serve warming up," Anderson said.

"The more nervous I got the worse the back felt. Fortunately it settled down.

"It wasn't a factor. I'm definitely happy that I've got two days off to get better.

"Fortunately I have a very good team with me. My physio has already taken a look and it's nothing to worry about."

Anderson also had to deal with the antics of the notoriously volatile Fognini, who was given a warning for racquet abuse in the second set just days after being fined $27,500 for threating to attack a Wimbledon official and damaging the court with his racquet.

"You're not sure what you're going to get," he said of facing Fognini.

"It lived up to what I thought it was going to be like, a lot of talking

"Personally I just think that's the way he copes with some of the stress of being out on the tour.

"Regardless of what's going on you have to play and beat him. I did expect that a little going into the match, so I definitely felt a bit more prepared to deal with it."

Topics : Kevin Anderson Tennis Wimbledon 2014
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