Cape Town – Kevin Anderson was ecstatic after thrashing Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-0, 6-1 in a one-sided ATP Finals match in London on Tuesday.
According to the ATP Tour’s official website, the South African landed 10 aces and won 82 percent of first-serve points to swat aside Nishikori in just 64 minutes.
It was Anderson’s 47th tour-level victory of the season (47-17), which saw him surpass his previous best mark of 46 match wins achieved in 2015.
Anderson next faces Switzerland’s Roger Federer on Thursday and is in a strong position to become the first African player to qualify for the semi-finals at the elite eight-man event.
Wayne Ferreira was the last South African to qualify for the singles event of the ATP Finals in 1995.
“I worked really hard as a kid. It is not easy. It is far from the tennis world, the tennis scene growing up in South Africa,” Anderson said. “Here I am having achieved a lot of my dreams. Hopefully, I’m a source of inspiration for kids growing up in South Africa to pick up a tennis racquet and hopefully we’ll see.
“It takes a lot of time, it is not going to happen overnight. Hopefully, in the next five or 10 years we will see men and women players coming out of South Africa.”
Anderson had gone into his match against Nishikori with a 5-3 losing head-to-head record but told AFP it was “amongst the best I’ve played”.
“I did a really good job constantly applying the pressure and not letting up. I just felt I returned really well, made him hit a lot of shots off his serve. He wasn’t getting too many free points.
“I was growing in confidence and he sort of probably was going a little the other way. So, from my side, I did a fantastic job throughout really.”
Anderson goes into his match against Federer with a 4-1 losing head-to-head record but will take heart from the pair’s previous meeting at Wimbledon earlier this year when the South African won 13-11 in the fifth set.
Results on the third day of the ATP Finals at London’s O2 Arena on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Group Lleyton Hewitt
Kevin Anderson (RSA x4) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x7) 6-0, 6-1
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x6) 6-2, 6-3
Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus (RSA/NZL x6) bt Nikola Mektic/Alexander Peya (CRO/AUT x7) 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5)
Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares (GBR/BRA x4) bt Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL/COL x2) 6-4, 6-3