Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Illini Anderson Gets Payback for NCAA Loss

Illinois’ Kevin Anderson and Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman have played each other a number of times before, but the most memorable was the 2007 NCAA Championships. It was the men’s singles semifinals and went to a three hour match. The final score was 7-6(3),5-7,6-3 in favor of Devvarman, who went on to defeat Georgia’s John Isner in the finals and win his first of two titles. In the first round of the US Open men’s singles main draw, it was an entirely different story.

There is no other way to put it – Kevin Anderson was playing his very best tennis on Monday. It didn’t seem to matter how well Devvarman served or how many winners he hit, Anderson was there to answer back. Former Illini, including Evan Zeder, an owner in the successful Athletic DNA clothing line, cheered on Anderson, but he didn’t seem to need it. He ran through the first set for a quick 6-2 win. The games did get a bit longer as the match went on, though Devvarman could not break through. Kevin Anderson had his place in the second round with 6-4 and 6-3 scores in the next two sets.

Kevin Anderson is the only player left in main draw singles (Chase Buchanan of Ohio State lost his bid for a main draw berth with a second round loss to Tatsumo Ito of Japan) with Big Ten ties. There will be, however, a Big Ten presence in the doubles with former Illini Ryler DeHeart and Rajeev Ram.
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