De Voest up against it | SASCOC - SASCOC

De Voest up against it

Our tennis hopes suffered a painful double blow at the Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, California on Thursday.

Top-ranked South African Kevin Anderson went down in three sets to American qualifier Michael Russell in the first round, losing 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-4, writes Mark Etheridge.

Anderson is ranked 40th in the world right now and wouldn’t be happy at this result against the world’s 89th ranked player. As is often the case Anderson came up tops in the aces battle, hitting 12 to nothing but he only had a 59% first service percentage and for a player whose service is such an important weapon, it wasn’t good enough.

Russell had a 75% first serve percentage in a match lasting 2hr 30min and the double fault count saw Anderson faulted on three occasions and Russell twice.

The other blow for SA hopes was a bitter-sweet affair. Qualifier Rik de Voest came through the first round when he watched Spanish opponent Pere Riba forced to retire at the start of the second set, 42 minutes into the match.

De Voest had won the first set 6-4 against a player ranked 90 places higher than him. But the reward sees the South African take on a far more dangerous threat in the form of the world’s top-ranked player Rafael Nadal in the second round.

The two have only met once but not at the highest level, Nadal triumphing 6-4 1-6 5-7 in a Challenger tournament in Cherbourg back in 2003.