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Kevin Anderson tops group after lopsided victory over Nishikori


South Africa’s Kevin Anderson / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF

Kevin Anderson made it two wins in his group with a lop-sided 6/0, 6/1 victory over Kei Nishikori in the second match of their group. It was the ninth meeting of the two players. It was a great surprise outing for the rugged Japanese star, especially after his upset victory over second seeded Roger Federer on Monday.

The second day’s schedule had started routinely with a doubles match featuring the sixth seeded pair of South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus of Australia, who defeated the seventh seeded team of Nikola Mektic of Serbia and Alexander Peya of Austria, 7/6 (5), 7/6 (5) in a thrilling match on Centre Court.

It was followed by the expected showdown between Anderson and Nishikori, in their ninth career encounter.

The match, however, was an anti-climax. Questions fuelled the air as the games piled up for the South African. Was Nishikori having a problem with his right wrist that had forced him to the sideline for months? Did his encounter with Federer wear him out?

Kevin Anderson registered a high percentage of first serves and won the points played after returns. In the 64-minute match, he piled up 10 aces with no double faults. On the other side, Nishikori failed to make his first serves and achieved a woeful record of 22 out of 49 attempts.

Anderson did not face a single break threat and won five out of 12, a credit to Nishikori who saved seven of break points.

However, Nishikori’s defensive prowess did not halt the rout, as Anderson amassed 56 of the total 85 points played, while Nishikori tallied 29, by the handshake moment.

It was in the sixth game of the second set that Nishikori got on the score board, thereby preventing a complete shut-out.

Later in the second day, Roger Federer would face Austria’s Dominic Thiem. Both of them lost their first matches to Nishikori and Anderson respectively.

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