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Citi Open: Kevin Anderson stuns top seed Dominic Thiem, Simona Halep advances

Yuki Bhambri beats Guido Pella to storm into Citi Open quarterfinals while Simona Halep extended her winning run at the Citi Open.

tennis Updated: Aug 04, 2017 12:22 IST
Reuters, Washington
Citi Open,Dominic Thiem,Simona Halep
Dominic Thiem of Austria serves against Kevin Anderson of South Africa (not pictured) on day four of the Citi Open.(USA Today)

Big-serving South African Kevin Anderson squandered two match points before finally overcoming Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem in a compelling three-set slugfest at the Citi Open in Washington on Thursday.

The clock had almost struck midnight when the 15th seed finally closed out the third-round match with his 21st ace to seal a 6-3 6-7(6) 7-6(7) victory in a little under three hours.

In a high-quality contest, 45th-ranked Anderson seemed to have frittered away his chances when he wasted a first match point in the second set but regrouped mentally and even survived a match point against him in the deciding tiebreak.

READ | Yuki Bhambri beats Guido Pella to storm into Citi Open quarterfinals

Anderson’s power game is ideally suited to the super-slick centre court surface at Rock Creek Park that has officially been measured as faster than Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

Thiem staved off defeat the first time after an 11-stroke rally culminated with a whipped forehand winner into the corner that Anderson could only watch helplessly as it whistled past.

The Austrian then captured the next two points of the tiebreak to level the score at one set apiece and send the contest into an exciting decider.

“I felt I had it in the second set but I tried to stay as positive as possible,” 31-year-old Anderson told Tennis Channel.

“I was down two breaks in the third but kept fighting and managed to play some of my better tennis.”

Simona Halep of Romania gestures after match point against Mariana Duque-Marino of Columbia. (USA Today Sports)

In quieter surroundings on an outside court, Indian world number 200 Yuki Bhambri continued his dream run.

After taking out defending champion Gael Monfils in the second round, Bhambri produced a successful encore to beat Argentine Guido Pella 6-7(5) 6-3 6-1 and set up a quarter-final encounter with Anderson.

In women’s action, top seed Simona Halep recovered from a poor start to beat Colombian Mariana Duque 3-6 6-4 6-2.

However, second seed Kristina Mladenovic could not avoid an upset when the Frenchwoman was thrashed 6-2 6-3 by Canadian 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu.

Next up for 167th-ranked Andreescu is a quarter-final against German Andrea Petkovic, who blanked Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the third set for a 6-2 4-6 6-0 victory.

First Published: Aug 04, 2017 12:22 IST