SA's Anderson sneaks through
Stockholm - South African fifth seed Kevin Anderson struggled in only his second indoor match of the season, fighting through two tiebreaks to get past Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/4) for a second-round spot at the Stockholm Open on Tuesday.
Anderson was joined in the next round by seventh seed Ivan Dodig as the Croatian defeated Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (8/6).
Tobias Kamke put a third German into the second round with an upset of Spanish eighth seed Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-3. Robredo missed two months with injury from July to September and is still looking for form.
Finn Jarkko Nieminen, playing the event for the 12th time, began with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) defeat of Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.
Anderson needed more than two hours to fight through for his second victory over 68th-ranked Garcia-Lopez.
The world No 31 had to recover from deficits throughout the encounter, winning with eight aces and 54 winners.
"I went down a couple of breaks in each set, but I managed to break back," said Anderson, 36-23 during the best season of his career.
"You don't want to lose serve that many times. But I kept fighting and picked up my game nicely."
The South African who is still troubled by a left knee injury which he is playing through, recovered from 5-2 down in the second set with a laborious fightback.
The seed broke for 4-5 and eventually took the set into another tiebreaker, where he secured victory on the first of two match points.
"This was tough, like our match in Miami in March," said Anderson, who will next play German Tommy Haas.
"He has a great backhand and I'm still getting used to indoor tennis.
"I wasn't hitting as well as I wanted at the start, but I had patches of good tennis. I want to analyse those and try to repeat them."
Anderson characterised his knee injury as "cartilage wear and tear" and said that he needs to keep a careful eye on the problem as he plays on.
"There's a lot of treatment involved, but I'm happy with the progress."
Results on the first day of the Stockholm Open here on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
James Blake (USA) bt Olivier Rochus (BEL) 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
David Nalbandian (ARG) bt Xavier Malisse (BEL) 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3)
Kevin Anderson (RSA x5) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/4)
Tobias Kamke (GER) bt Tommy Robredo (ESP x8) 6-2, 6-3
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) bt Marius Copil (ROM) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Ivan Dodig (CRO x7) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (8/6)