South Africa's Kevin Anderson back to winning ways in ATP Cup

Kevin Anderson of South Africa celebrates winning his match against Cristian Garin of Chile during day 4 of the ATP Cup tennis tournament at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia, January 6, 2020.
Kevin Anderson of South Africa celebrates winning his match against Cristian Garin of Chile during day 4 of the ATP Cup tennis tournament at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia, January 6, 2020.
Image: AAP Image/Darren England/via REUTERS

Fit-again South African Kevin Anderson won his first match since returning to competitive tennis with a 6-0 6-3 victory over Chile's Cristian Garin at the inaugural ATP Cup team event on Monday.

Anderson, runner-up at the 2017 US Open and Wimbledon a year later, played only five tournaments last year due to injury before undergoing knee surgery in September.

The 33-year-old lost 7-6(5) 7-6(6) to Novak Djokovic in his return to action on Saturday, his first match since the third round of Wimbledon in July, but proved too good for Garin.

The former world number five did not face a single break point against Garin, sealing the tie for South Africa in the $15m ATP Cup which features 24 nations competing in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney over 10 days.

"Got off to a really good start and I feel like a lot of things we have been working on, I was able to implement them," Anderson said in Brisbane.

"A little bit physically draining after my first match. It's always, as much as you work off the court, it's always a little bit different being in a match environment.

"But a really good day of recovery yesterday and my body felt really good being out there today."

The world's top players have assembled for the ATP Cup and are using the event to prepare for this month's Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne from January 20.

Marin Cilic, the US Open champion in 2014, followed up Saturday's win against Austrian Dennis Novak with a 7-6(8) 6-4 win over 20-year-old Kacper Zuk of Poland.

Cilic converted only one of 13 break point opportunities but his win in Sydney was enough to set up Croatia's second victory at the event after they blanked Austria 3-0.

"Today, if I have to pick some things that I need to do better, it's just converting break points. I had a lot of them," Cilic said.

"But otherwise, I felt that the level was quite good. I was being aggressive."

Japan also completed their second win as Yoshihito Nishioka and Go Soeda emerged victorious in their singles matches to seal the tie against Georgia in Perth. 

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