Cape Town - Top South African
tennis player Kevin Anderson's end of a frustrating winless drought has been short-lived at the
Italian Open with a second-round defeat at Rome's colourful, raucous Foro
Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6 in the first round for his first victory in four
months, the injury-plagued Anderson was beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 by 114th-ranked Argentinian clay-court
specialist Juan Monaco.
The loss means
that Anderson's current world ranking of 19th - which stood at 12th at the start
of the year - will drop further when the ATP's new ratings are issued on
And it leaves Anderson seriously short of match practice
for the prestigious French Open later in the month after a
succession of knee, shoulder and ankle ailments have limited his tournament
appearances this year.
Like Anderson, the 32-year-old Monaco has also been
affected by injuries and his modest world ranking is misleading, particularly
on a clay surface where he has been a handful for many of the world's top
It was Monaco's second victory in three matches against
Anderson and he gradually wore down an opponent who demonstrated signs of
rustiness and whose potentially potent serve systematically lost its sting.
Anderson, who turns 30 next week, reached the fourth
round of last year's French Open and the pending tournament at Roland Garros
can rightly be viewed as a revealing signpost for the rest of the year after
his bleak start to 2016.