US Open

Little to enthuse over for SA at US Open

2016-09-09 12:28
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - With South African tennis stuttering along at top level in 2016 like a motor vehicle with flawed, dysfunctional spark plugs, the chance of the current US Open providing a surge of power from the sparse local representation of Kevin Anderson in the singles and Raven Klaasen in doubles was seemingly fuelled mainly by optimism.

And so it emerged, with Anderson's world ranking slump continuing to a point where he is now set to slip a further 10 places or so to 45th or 46th next week despite beating the 85th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka and 123rd-ranked Vasek Pospisil in the opening two rounds before suffering a straight-set loss to the formidable Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.

Klaasen, of course, is the one shining light for South African tennis on the international stage during the current year, but going down in the second round with regular USA partner Rajeev Ram against the scratch pairing of Brazilian Andre Sa and Australia Chris Guccione was certainly deflating after the Klaasen-Ram combination had made it through to the semi-finals at the previous Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament.

A saving grace for Klaasen, of course, is that he still retains his world No 10 doubles ranking and with Ram the pair remain well-positioned in seventh place to qualify for the prestige eight-team ATP World Tour Doubles Finals at the year-end finale in London.

But the amiable, 33-year-old Klaasen remains no nearer to his major ambition of annexing a Grand Slam title after coming close as a finalist with Eric Butorac in the Australian Open three years ago - prior to the more recent run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon this year that included a victory over 16-times former Grand Slam title holders Bob and Mike Bryan.

However, what truly reflects the stark and disturbing situation of South African tennis was the inability of anyone apart from Klaasen and Anderson to  make it to the 128 qualifying segment of the US Open - let alone the 128 main draw - at either men's or women's level.

Unthinkable, this might have seemed even a couple of years ago for a country with a proud tennis heritage, but then apart from Anderson no South African is ranked among the top 380 men singles players in the world right now.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  us open  |  kevin anderson  |  raven klaasen  |  tennis
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