Kevin Anderson won his first ATP Tour title on foreign soil late Sunday night when he triumphed at the Delray Beach International in Florida, United States, writes Mark Etheridge.
Seeded seventh for the tournament, Anderson beat Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic 6-4 7-6 (7/2) to add to his Johannesburg Open that he won last year.
Victory meant that Anderson bounced six spots back up the ATP Tour rankings on Monday morning to equal his joint highest ranking of 30th. It also meant he pocketed a winner’s cheque of $75,780 for his efforts.
Anderson came up with eight aces compared to two by Matosevic and had three double faults to the Aussie’s two. Neither player could really get their service game going and both had a 57% first serve percentage. But Anderson won 69% of his first serve points to the 56% of his opponent.
Anderson was unable to take advantage of eight service break opportunities in the second set but when it came to the tiebreaker he held his cool to wrap things up in just under two hours.
Matosevic was playing his first ATP final and, ranked only 173rd in the world before the game, did well all things considering and was rewarded by jumping 44 spots up the rankings to 129th on Monday.
“Both of us were a little nervous at the start of match, so I had to find my rhythm,” said Anderson, who saved three match points in a quarter-final victory over Andy Roddick, then defeated top-seeded John Isner in the semi-finals.
“I think at the end, I felt I was mentally composed throughout (the tournament). I didn’t let any patches of bad tennis affect my mindset,” he told the ATP Tour website.
He admitted he felt a little flat, a day after notching a first ATP semi-final victory in his first attempt.
“My energy levels were pretty low,” Matosevic said. “I just couldn’t serve well today(Sunday), but credit to Kevin. He was the better player today(Sunday).
Although his run through qualifying to the final was impressive, Matosevic was clearly disappointed that he couldn’t make the most of his chance.
“Before the week, if you told me that I’d make the final, I’d be the happiest guy in the world,” he said. “Then when you get there and you play the match – I feel like I was just a few points from winning the match or turning the match, but I just couldn’t do it. It can only help me I guess.”