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Kevin, Rik out in second

South African hopes in the singles competition at Wimbledon expired in London on Thursday as both Kevin Anderson and Rik de Voest exited.

Anderson, our top-ranked player, went down to the irresistible Novak Djokovic, losing in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-2, writes Mark Etheridge.

Ranked 36th in the world, Anderson gave his best but had to play second fiddle to the second-seeded Serb on Court One in a match which lasted seven minutes short of two hours. He was on the back foot from the go-get as Djokovic danced into a 5-0 lead before Anderson clawed back to 5-3.

Djokovic’s Wimbledon roll now gathers momentum and he’ll play charismatic Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the third round after the 32nd seed had disposed of Itlain Andreas Seppi.

Anderson at least had the satisfaction of out-acing Djokovic to the tune of 8-7. Once again though it was unforced errors that cost him, as he had 18 against him compared to 14 by Djokovic.

He also had the fastest serve of the match, a 134mph effort compared to Djokovic’s best speed of 125mph.

Meanwhile De Voest went down Chilean Fernando Gonzalez to end the South African singles challenge for 2011. The final score on court No14 was 6-4 6-4 6-4 in a match that lasted 1hr 45min. Unforced errors cost De Voest dearly as he made 34 compared to Gonzalez’s 21. SA tennis fans will now have to wait until next year if they want to see a South African men’s player in the third round. That honour belongs to Wayne Ferreira, seven long years ago.

Meanwhile Anderson at least had some consolation as he progressed into the second round of the men’s doubles. He and Austria’s Julien Knowle went past the Slovakian/Czech combo of Karol Beck and David Skoch in straight sets 7-5 6-1.

Our top-ranked doubles player, Wesley Moodie is also through to fight another day as he and Belgium’s Dick Norman won. The 11th seeds beat Treat Huey of the Phillipines and Moodie’s fellow South African Izak van der Merwe 7-5 7-6.

In the women’s doubles competition, South Africans Chani Scheepers and Natalie Grandin both still have first round matches to contest.


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