Anderson squeaks into Aussie Open

Last year at this time South African number one tennis player Kevin Anderson began his meteoric ascent from a world 550th ranking by gaining a place in the Australian Open main draw via the gruelling qualifying rounds.

Last year at this time South African number one tennis player Kevin Anderson began his meteoric ascent from a world 550th ranking by gaining a place in the Australian Open main draw via the gruelling qualifying rounds.

This year Anderson has gained direct acceptance into the main draw of the grand slam event that begins in Melbourne today - but only by the narrowest of margins.

Indeed, had the acceptances been determined on the players' current ratings, Anderson would have missed out with a ranking of 108th. But as fate had it the acceptances were determined when entries closed two weeks ago and at that point he had made the cut-off point with a ranking just outside the top 100.

The star-studded tournament headed by top-seeded world number one Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray affords the 22 year-old Anderson an inviting opportunity to confirm the promise he displayed in a stunning victory over Djokovic in Miami last year - and progress to his first grand slam second round.

Anderson, the lone South African hope, also carries in the men's singles draw after the elimination on Thursday of Rik de Voest in the second qualifying round. - Sapa

X