Kevin Anderson shocked in the first round of the Australian Open
Despite serving 35 aces‚ South Africa’s Kevin Anderson crashed out in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open on Monday.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund ousted the big-hitting South African 6-7 (4) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the first round in Melbourne even though he was a break down at 0-2 in the final set in a match that lasted nearly four hours.
Edmund‚ ranked 49 in the world‚ twice had to come back from a set down as the 11th-seeded Anderson failed to use his power to his advantage while also making 41 unforced errors.
Edmund made only 20 unforced errors‚ which was a huge difference in a match where the Briton won a total of 155 points to Anderson’s 154.
Edmund received treatment for a sore shoulder in the fifth set while Anderson also had the trainer on court for some work on his knee during a short rain break in the third set.
But he didn’t put his defeat down to the leg: “With the wind‚ the ball was moving around‚ and it (the knee) was flaring up a little bit‚” Anderson said.
“Kyle's a great competitor. He's always very dangerous. I felt he hit it extremely well today. He hit lots of winners and very few errors in tricky conditions.”
Defeat is a huge blow for the 31-year-old Anderson‚ who made the US Open final last September while also winning in Abu Dhabi and finishing runner-up in Pune‚ India‚ in his first two tournaments of 2018.
After a good end to last season and a great start to this year‚ the quick court surfaces and Anderson’s form suggested he was set for a good run in Melbourne.
The big South African wasn’t the only high profile casualty on day one as 2017 women’s US Open winner Sloane Stephens and veteran Venus Williams also bowed out.
Stephens‚ who enjoyed a fairytale run to winning the US Open ranked No 83 last September‚ has not won a match since her Grand Slam breakthrough.
On Monday in Melbourne she suffered a 2-6 7-6(2) 6-2 defeat against China’s Zhang Shuai on Margaret Court Arena.
“Even though I lost‚ I‘m not too sad. Everything is good.
"Relax‚ everybody. It will be okay. Don’t worry. We will get back to having fun soon‚” Stephens said afterwards.
“Just give me a little bit to regroup and we will be okay.”
The 37-year-old Venus Williams‚ who made the Australian Open final in 2017‚ crashed out 3-6 5-7 against 20-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic.