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Kevin wins in Paris

By Mark Etheridge

He may have dropped two places in the ATP Tour rankings, but top-ranked Kevin Anderson is already working on getting back to his career-best ranking.

And he did that cause no harm in Paris on Monday, winning his first round match in the BNP Paribas Masters.

Playing at the Bercy Indoor Ground, the South African beat Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, currently ranked 52nd, in three sets to advance through to the second round of the $2.7-million tournament.

In match nine minutes shy of two hours, the final score was 6-3 4-6 6-4. His big service game was working again and he notched 13 aces to the eight of Muller while he had a first service percentage of 66% and won a fine 85% of points on his first service. Anderson now takes his head-to-head record against Muller to 2-1.

Next up for Anderson, ranked 31st this week, is a match with local ace Richard Gasquet, seeded 16th for the tournament. Anderson is yet to get the better of the Frenchman, going down in both their previous encounters, once at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Cincinnati last year and then more recently at this US Open, both in the Round of 32 stage. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is top seed for the tournament.

Meanwhile Anderson’s countryman, Izak van der Merwe is celebrating both a career-high ranking this week as well as a tournament victory.

Van der Merwe beat American Jesse Levine in the final of the Virginia National Bank Men’s Pro Championships in Charlottesville, US. Seeded fifth for the tournament, he won in three sets, 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Victory earned Van der Merwe $10,600 and saw him climb 15 spots up the ATP Tour rankings to 111th. Also playing the same tournament was Rik de Voest, who went out in the second round.

There was also South African representation in the doubles final where Raven Klaasen teamed up with American John-Paul Fruttero and the two reached the final where they lost to the Philippines/British combo of Treat Conrad Huey and Dominic Inglot in three sets, 6-4 3-6 7-10.