Kevin Anderson at least had the consolation of being part of Roger Federer’s history-making achievements in Paris on Wednesday, writes Mark Etheridge.
The South African was playing the former world No1 for the first time at the BNP Paribas Masters, and went down 6-4 6-4 to the Swiss ace.
In beating the SA No1, Federer ensured that he qualified for the season-ending ATP Race to London final by finishing among the top nine players.
This is the 12th consecutive occasion that Federer has qualified, equalling Czech player Ivan Lend’s record for most successive appearances.
Despite being nothing like the self-assured and dominating player of old, 32-year-old Federer managed to overcome Anderson fairly easy after breaking his lanky opponent in the very first game.
The match lasted an hour and 22 minutes with the second set taking just two minutes longer than the first.
Anderson looked a frustrated figure, setting up many a winning opportunity only to falter on the final stroke. He was seemingly down and out in the final set at 1-4 but to his credit, dug deep and even had two break points to level at 5-5 before Federer held firm.
The story of the match could be see in in the unforced error count. Despite shading the ace count 9-7, Anderson more than balanced that out with five double faults to zero by Federer and made 35 unforced errors to Federer’s 22.
Federer now takes on German’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round.