Anderson Back In The Winners' Circle
It has been a long time coming for Kevin Anderson. The South African had not won a title since 2015 Winston-Salem, and a slew of injuries forced his ATP Ranking down to as low as No. 80 last January.
But five months after advancing to his first Grand Slam final at the US Open, Anderson added a fourth tour-level title to his collection, defeating second seed Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) to win the inaugural New York Open on Sunday.
"Tennis is a tough sport. You play three, four, five matches sometimes to get to the final and if it doesn’t go your way, it’s pretty tough to deal with even though you’ve had a great week,” Anderson said. "I’ve been to quite a few finals. It really means a lot to me to get through today.”
Thanks to his performance this week, the 31-year-old will move to a career-best No. 9 in the ATP Rankings on Monday. The inaugural final in New York was the first ATP World Tour championship match to go to a deciding tie-break since The Queen’s Club Championships last year (Lopez d. Cilic).
If there was any time Anderson would show his nerves having lost his past three tour-level finals (2017 Washington, 2017 US Open, 2018 Pune), it would have been in the third-set tie-break — his third of the week. But the right-hander won the first six points of the tie-break and took his second match point with a stunning forehand passing shot.
"One of the big goals I had for this year was to try to be a bit more successful in that final stage," Anderson said. "It feels great to come through and get today’s win. It gives me a lot of confidence for the year."
Anderson, who needed three sets in all four of his matches in New York, earns 250 ATP Rankings points and $119,250. Querrey takes home 150 points and $62,805 for his runner-up finish.
It was an atypical final for two of the biggest servers on the ATP World Tour. Querrey entered the match having been broken just once in the tournament, while Anderson had lost his serve only three times. But each player broke three times in the first two sets alone to send the final to a decider. The final set went closer to the expected script, with each player holding serve throughout to force the tie-break, in which the South African was the steadier player.
"[It was] a couple points here and there," Querrey said. "The way he plays it doesn’t let you play that much because he goes so much, so you don’t really get that comfortable out there. But it could have gone either way."
Anderson, who hit 16 aces in the match, knotted the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 8-8. It was their first meeting in a final since their first match at 2008 Las Vegas, where Querrey won the first of his 10 ATP World Tour titles.
Did You Know?
Anderson has previously spent a single week in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, in October 2015. He will climb to a career-best No. 9 on Monday.