ATP Tour

Kevin Anderson: Another shot at history

2018-05-11 08:25
Kevin Anderson (Getty Images)

Cape Town - South African tennis ace Kevin Anderson is hoping it will be 11th time lucky when he takes to the Madrid Masters clay courts on Friday.

Anderson, the current world No 8, faces Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic in the quarter-finals where he’ll be looking to reach the last-four of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time.

Anderson, remarkably, has lost all 10 of his quarter-finals at Masters 1000 level - the ATP events rated just below the Grand Slams.

Earlier in the year, Anderson squandered golden opportunities in the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events.

In the Californian desert, Anderson let slip a 4-2 final-set advantage before losing to Croatia’s Borna Coric, while in Miami he lost to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in a final set tie-break.

Anderson had carried a 4-0 head-to-head advantage into his match against the Spaniard and on Friday he will also be favoured to beat Lajovic, a player ranked 95th on the ATP rankings.

Anderson beat Lajovic in straight sets - 6-2, 7-5 - in their only previous encounter in Miami last year.

He will however be wary of the Serb who upset world No 6 Juan Martin del Potro from Argentina on Thursday.

Since reaching his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open last year, Anderson has enjoyed a resurgence in form.

Anderson's current ranking of No 8 is his highest ever and a victory over Lajovic would see him build on a solid start to 2018 which includes one ATP title (New York Open) and two runner-up efforts (Acapulco and Pune).

Should Anderson come to the party and win on Friday, he may face an altogether more daunting task in the semi-finals.

A last-four match-up against world No 1 Rafael Nadal - the man who beat Anderson in last year’s US Open final - possibly lies in wait.

Nadal faces fifth seeded Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals and it’s hard to see the Austrian upsetting the King of Clay.

Nadal has won his last 50 sets on clay - a new ATP record - and looks unstoppable on the surface.

Anderson has never beaten Nadal in five prior meetings but a maiden semi-final at Masters 1000 level should be top priority.

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