Berdych ends Anderson's hope
Kevin Anderson (Gallo Images)
Paris - Kevin Anderson's hopes of becoming the first South African man to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam for nine years were shattered by Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych in a French Open slugfest on Friday.
The 31st seed from Johannesburg was attempting to match comptariot Wayne Ferreira who made the fourth round at the Australian Open in 2003.
But after taking a two sets to one lead, he ran out of steam in the final set, when he needed treatment on his left thigh at every changeover, and lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 6-4, eight minutes short of four hours.
Berdych, a semi-finalist in Paris in 2010, will next take on either ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina or Marin Cilic of Croatia for a place in the quarter-finals.
The 26-year-old Czech had won both previous meetings with Anderson at this year's Australian Open and on clay in Madrid last month without dropping a set and.
He looked on course for a comfortable win when he eased through the first set, but the 26-year-old South African matched him for big hitting in the second to level the tie.
Anderson had struggled to make this stage, having to save four match points in the first round against Rui Machado, but he played a more convincing tiebreak in the third which he sealed when Berdych dumped a simple smash into the net with the court at his mercy.
However, the Czech finished the fresher of the two, breaking in the ninth game of the fourth set and seventh of the decider to progress.
World number 98 Malek Jaziri wasted a great opportunity to become the first Tunisian man into a Grand Slam third round when he squandered three match points against Spanish 20th seed Marcel Granollers.
In a match held over from Tuesday, Granollers edged past Jaziri 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 and will face France's Paul-Henri Mathieu for a place in the last 16.
Later Friday, top seed Novak Djokovic faces French qualifier Nicolas Devilder, the world ranked 286, in a battle of the highest-ranked and the lowest-ranked players left in the draw.
Djokovic is bidding to become only the third man to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time and first since Rod Laver in 1969.
Third seed Roger Federer, fresh from setting a new Grand Slam match wins record of 234, tackles Nicolas Mahut while fifth seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faces Italy's Fabio Fognini.