US Open

Can Anderson emulate Curren, Kriek?

2017-09-04 11:22
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - South Africa’s Kevin Anderson will go into his US Open quarter-final against American Sam Querrey confident of reaching a maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

The South African No 1 equalled his best performance at a major when he defeated unseeded Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 in their fourth round clash on Sunday.

Two years ago, Anderson reached the US Open quarter-finals with an upset fourth round win over former champion Andy Murray.

The 28th seed next faces 17th-seeded Querrey, and while the American is the slight favourite at the bookmakers, the South African will not be perturbed.

Anderson trails Querrey 8-6 in head-to-head encounters on the ATP Tour, but the pair are level at 5-5 in previous hardcourt matches.

Standing 6-foot-8 (2.03m) to Querrey's 6-foot-6 (1.98m), Anderson will also draw comfort from the fact he won their last match relatively comfortably - 6-4, 6-1 - at the Montreal Masters last month.

Querrey won their previous Grand Slam encounter when he triumphed in a five-set epic in the Wimbledon round of 16 earlier this year.

Therefore, given the duo's head-to-head history and similar game styles, there should not be much separating them when they meet on Tuesday (Wednesday morning SA time).

If Anderson is to reach the semis, he'll be favoured to reach the final.

There, the South African will be up against either Spain's 12th seed Pablo Carreño Busta or 29th-seeded Argentinian Diego Schwartzman.

Anderson has never lost against either player and holds 2-0 records against both in previous ATP World Tour meetings.

A semi-final appearance for Anderson would also see him become the first South African to reach that stage of a Grand Slam since Wayne Ferreira made the last four of the 2003 Australian Open.

South Africans have to go all the way back to 1985 when one of their "own" made the final of Grand Slam.

Durban-born Kevin Curren was by then already an American citizen, but received fervent support from his country of birth before being upset by 17-year-old Boris Becker of Germany.

Before Curren, Pretoria-born Johan Kriek made headlines when he won back-to-back Australian Opens in 1981 and 1982.

It's still early days, but a final appearance for Anderson is an achievable goal.

However, once there, he could face the daunting prospect of finding either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal on the other side of the net...

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