Kevin Anderson became the latest victim of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Cinderella run at the Rogers Cup on Saturday, failing to convert a match point in the third set tiebreak before falling to the Greek teen. Anderson is still looking to reach his first Masters 1000 final.
Despite the heartbreaking loss that was within his grasp, did not follow the example of Alexander Zverev from the day before, crediting his opponent for a great performance and focusing on the positives after a strong start to his hard-court season.
Credit where credit is due
Even though Anderson described the match as “obviously incredibly difficult losing a match like where it's so close at such a big stage of the tournament,” he was pragmatic about the result. He admitted that “I did what I could. I thought he played some really good tennis, especially when it mattered the most. I had a couple of break points end of the second set and then in the third set too. He didn't miss a first serve. He played really well then.
And then obviously on the one match point that I had, he played -- you know, came up with an unbelievable backhand crosscourt winner. So, you know, it was a very impressive effort from him. I think first player to beat four guys in the top 10 ever or since '99, at any rate. So, you know, I think he's really proving himself. He's taken huge strides forward this week. So definitely it will be, you know, exciting to see what he does in the future.”
Anderson’s analysis of his opponent’s performance was that “he was really solid from the back today. A lot of times I felt he controlled the ball very well. I was very impressed with the way he played, as I mentioned earlier, some of the bigger points of the match. Because I felt like I quite a few opportunities. I mean, even in the third, a couple of times I was at deuce. The one game he was up 40-Love, I played three really good points to get it back to deuce to sort of get a sniff in the game, and he ends up hitting two aces. So those are the kind of points that he played very well.
I think the biggest thing I was impressed with was definitely his mental. He played pretty solid throughout the match. So today he definitely deserved to win.”
Taking positives from a strong run
Prior to 2018, Anderson had never advanced past the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 event. He’s now reached a pair of semifinals this year. Despite falling short of his first Masters 1000 final once again, the South African felt that there were “Lots of positives. As I just said, it's really disappointing and tough losing a match like that. But I felt I played really well. I created chances, and he just came up with really good tennis when it mattered. So all credit to him for doing that.
I feel like I did a lot of things right. So I'm definitely going to walk away with my head up and continue to play the kind of tennis that I'm playing. Definitely there's a few things I could have done a little bit better today, just a few executions, maybe a few adjustments. I think if I can do that, it could make my life a little bit easier. But all in all, it feels good to make my second Masters semifinal. One of my goals was to put myself in these positions more often. Obviously would have liked to have taken one more step forward to get into the finals, but I will have to wait until next time.”