Anderson Edges Matosevic to Win Delray Beach Championships

by John on March 5, 2012

Seventh seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa defeated unheralded Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the championship match of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships yesterday, ending the fairy-tale run of the No. 173-ranked Australian qualifier who was appearing in his first ATP Tour-level final. Anderson, who upset top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals on Saturday, garnered his second career title in three finals. The 6-foot-8 South African, 25, won his first last year on home turf in Johannesburg. Matosevic won three qualifying matches to get into the main draw and then defeated Ivo Karlovic, Alex Bogomolov Jr., Ernests Gulbis and Dudi Sela en route to the final. Until Delray Beach, Matosevic had not won a tour-level match this season, and was just 3-15 for his career. Play was dicey through the first five games of the match, with neither player able to hold serve. After that both players steadied and held serve the rest of the match. With his one break advantage, Anderson took the first set. The second set was a real tussle, with Anderson improving his serve and hitting seven of his eight aces, while denying Matosevic a look at a break point. Matosevic hung tough, though, saving all eight break points against his serve — he saved 12 of 15 on the day — to force a tiebreaker. The No. 36-ranked South African proved to be too strong in the breaker, however, and sealed the win 7-2 after one hour and 58 minutes of action. “Both of us were a little nervous at the start of match, so I had to find my rhythm,” Anderson said. “I think at the end, I felt I was mentally composed throughout [the tournament]. I didn’t let any patches of bad tennis affect my mindset [this week].” Anderson improved to 10-4 on the season and heads off to Indian Wells, Calif., to compete in the BNP Paribas Open. For the 26-year-old Matosevic, Delray Beach could prove to be a watershed week. “I’ve been training really hard. People have been telling me hard work pays off, and I guess in some small way, a little bit paid off this week. Before the week, if you told me that I’d make the final, I’d be the happiest guy in the world. Then when you get there and you play the match, I feel like I was just a few points from winning the match or turning the match, but I just couldn’t do it. It can only help me I guess.”

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