Anderson through after marathon battle
Kevin Anderson reached the fourth round of the Australian Open with a gutsy 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 win over 22nd seed Fernando Verdasco in Melbourne on Friday.
The SA men's No 1 twice fought back from a set down and needed 3hr 46min to overcome the Spaniard, the former world No 7, to advance to the fourth round of of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.
It was Anderson's first win in three encounters with the Spaniard on the ATP tour, though the South African did emerge victorious over Verdasco when they met during the Hopman Cup in Perth earlier in the month.
Anderson had previously reached the third round of the US Open in 2010 and 2011 and last year's French Open, and is bidding to emulate fellow South African Wayne Ferreira, who reached the semifinals in Melbourne in 2003.
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Speaking courtside immediately after his victory, Anderson thanked the supporters who watched the match on the Hisense Arena.
He commented on the importance of that victory over Verdasco in the Hopman Cup.
"I thought that was a very important match for me. I've played him twice before, they were both on clay courts, and he beat me both times. Even though it wasn't the same format as a grand slam, it was good just to get that win, it gave me a bit of confidence coming in today.
On the fourth-set tie breaker, he commented, "It's all a little hazy right now. I was serving for the set and then all of a sudden we were in a tie breaker. Obviously very happy to get through that and I thought I picked it up nicely in the final set there."
He next faces world No 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the fourth round.
Berdych beat Austrian Jurgen Melzer in straight sets on Friday to set up the match against Anderson.