Kevin Anderson Wins first ATP title in three years in Winston-Salem
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
#2 seed Kevin Anderson boosted his ranking, broke out of a summer slump, and captured his first ATP title since 2012 with a routine 6-4 7-5 victory over qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Winston-Salem. Anderson came into the Winston-Salem Open with just two match wins since Wimbledon, and after a slow start in his opening match against Mikhail Kukushkin, where he had to serve his way back from a set down, he didn’t drop another set against Jerzy Janowicz, Borna Coric, and Malek Jaziri before the final. The South African moves back into the top 15, and puts himself into the dark horse conversation for the US Open as well with his powerful and steady hard court game. Anderson didn’t drop serve after his opening match through the rest of the week.
Herbert, along with Jaziri, and Steve Johnson, the other semifinalist, was a pleasant surprise this week. The talented Frenchman had seen his singles career decline and was close to becoming perhaps a doubles specialist, but at 24 he’s certainly going to be back focusing on singles after reaching his first ATP final. PHH, who also has a quality serve, didn’t drop a set in qualifying and then ousted veterans Sergiy Stakhovsky and Marcos Baghdatis, in 3 sets to reach the quarterfinals. From there he scored tough comeback wins against Pablo Carreno Busta from a set down and a second set tiebreak won, and likewise against Johnson, who came up just short in his bid to reach his first ever ATP title in front of home fans no less.
It’s hard to tell what type of player Herbert will develop into in coming seasons, but his play this week once more demonstrated his under appreciated potential.
In doubles the veteran pairing of Dominic Inglot/Robert Lindstedt scored a routine win over Eric Butorac/Scott Lipsky to go home with the title. Attention now shifts to the US Open which starts on Monday, as the Emirates Airlines US Open Series has now concluded for 2015.