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Kevin Anderson hits 49 aces in a five-set victory against Jiri Vesely on Monday in the first round of the US Open.

Former US Open Finalist Anderson Crushes 49 Aces In Win

The two-time major finalist will next play 11th seed Schwartzman

Kevin Anderson put both arms in the air for good reason after completing a 7-6(1), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win against Jiri Vesely on Monday in the first round of the US Open. The South African had just hit his 49th ace, tying his career-best mark in a four-hour, 22-minute victory.

The other time Anderson hit 49 aces in a match was in his 2018 Wimbledon semi-final triumph against John Isner. That match lasted 99 games, while his win against Vesely totalled 58 games. 

"I think I served at a very consistently high level, and especially in the tie-breaks. I probably served some of my best through them and obviously that's really important," Anderson said. "Overall, just really, really pleased to get through."

Anderson's 49 aces put him in a tie for third-most at the US Open since 1991 alongside Richard Krajicek. Only Ivo Karlovic (61, 2016) and John Isner (52, 2020) have hit more during that time at the season's final major. Four of the top-five ace counts at the US Open since 1991 have come since 2016. 

Most Aces In A US Open Match (since 1991)

 Player  Year  Rd/Opponent  Aces
 1) Ivo Karlovic  2016  R1, def. Yen-Hsun Lu  61
 2) John Isner  2020  R1, l. to Steve Johnson  52
 T3) Kevin Anderson  2021  R1, def. Jiri Vesely  49
 T3) Richard Krajicek  1999  QF, l. to Yevgeny Kafelnikov  49
 5) Alexander Bublik   2019  R2, def. Thomas Fabbiano  48

Anderson saved his best serving for the final set, in which he hit 17 aces to claw past the Czech lefty. In the match, 46.5 per cent of the former World No. 5's first serves that landed in (47/101) resulted in an ace. 

"A pretty exciting match out there, playing in a fifth-set tie-break," Anderson said. "[There] was great crowd support towards the end. I really felt a lot of people behind me, which was really enjoyable to play in."

The two-time major finalist has enjoyed success at Flushing Meadows before, reaching the final in 2017 (l. to Nadal). He also made the quarter-finals in 2015, defeating Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem and Andy Murray during his run.

Anderson will next play one of the world's best returners in 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, who eliminated Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 22 minutes.

Last year, Schwartzman suffered a heartbreaking defeat from two sets up in his first-round match in New York against Cameron Norrie. This time, he did not let slip his advantage, striking 23 winners in his victory.

Anderson leads the pair's ATP Head2Head series 2-1, but they have not played since Roland Garros in 2018. In that match, Schwartzman rallied from two sets down to win in five sets.

Did You Know?
This was Anderson's second five-set win against Vesely. The South African defeated the Czech lefty 2-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the 2014 Australian Open. Their ATP Head2Head series is now level at 3-3.

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