First title beckons for Anderson


JOHANNESBURG – Local Kevin Anderson and Indian Davis Cup star Somdev Devvarman set themselves up for a first ATP World Tour title Saturday by reaching the South African Open final. Johannesburg-born Anderson dropped his first set of the tournament at Montecasino entertainment centre on the northern fringe of the South African financal hub before winning 6-7 (3/7), 6-0, 6-4 against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Devvarman took a shorter route to the Sunday decider and confirmed his role as a bogeyman for South African opponents with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Izak van der Merwe. Both victors have come close to ATP glory once with Anderson losing the Tennis Channel Open final against American Sam Querrey in Los Vegas three seasons ago. Devvarman from the Assam region in north-east India made the Chennai Open final in his homeland a year later only to come off second best to Croat Marin Cilic in straight sets.
Although a sell-out crowd will back Anderson to the hilt in the climax, his opponent can draw confidence from a host of victories over South African opponents at tournaments and in the Davis Cup. The 25-year-old Indian defeated locals Raven Klaasen, Rik de Voest and Van der Merwe along his four-victory path to the final, prompting Anderson to say it was time to turn the tables.