Friday, September 3, 2010

Thrilling Upset for Kevin Anderson

It started late and went later and longer than anyone expected, but former Illini Kevin Anderson managed to pull off a last minute upset of No. 26 Thomaz Bellucci at the US Open.

Court 13 was running late all day thanks to a five hour match between 11th seeded Maric Cilic and Kei Nishkori (won by Nishkori). No one expected it would happen again, going late into the night with another upset, but they didn’t know Kevin Anderson, a South African with the “never give up motto.” In addition to playing the powerful seed, he was battling a loud, foot stomping crowd of supporters for the Brazilian. Ironically, it is usually the Illini crowd that can get a bit too vocal, and though a few did, they were definitely outnumbered.

When you are dealing with two men who both have no problem hitting 130 mph serves, breaks don’t happen often and this match was a display of that. There were two break points for Kevin Anderson and he converted them to use for set wins. Twenty two year old Bellucci was just a slight bit behind, but the two showed their range with incredible points from the baseline to the net as the group of spectators continued to grow. It was definitely top-notch tennis for both, making the crowd forget that Thomaz Belluci entered this tournament at No. 26 in the world (with a career high of 21 in July) and 24 year old Kevin Anderson was beneath him at 77, just one above his career high.

The match would continue for over three hours and former Illini  (2004-2007) Kevin Anderson would walk away with the upset at 6-7(4),6-4,5-7,6-4,7-6(2) over the 26th seed.  He would have a ticket to meet Richard Gasquet -- who upset No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko – in the third round.

Friday’s forecast calls for a possible visit at the US Open by Hurricane Earl, so the schedule is subject to change, but Anderson is listed as playing doubles in the afternoon and Rajeev Ram, the other Big Ten player still in contention, appears to have another day off.
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