MELBOURNE, Australia — Kevin Anderson has had to deal with scorching temperatures so far at the Australian Open.
The former Illini standout certainly felt the heat Friday during his third-round match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin from France. But down two sets, Anderson rallied for a dramatic 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory that sends him into the fourth round at the Australian Open.
“I‘ve always said I enjoy playing in the heat,” Anderson said. “But (Friday) wasn’t an example of that. Beginning of the third (set) I settled down. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe I was just a bit more relaxed.”
If the 27-year-old Anderson beats Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic in the fourth round today, it’s on to the quarterfinals for the first time in a Grand Slam event. He’ll need to reverse an ugly trend against Berdych, though, to accomplish the feat. Berdych holds a 9-0 career record against Anderson, and has eliminated the South African from four previous Grand Slam tournaments.
“He’s somebody that’s given me a bit of a tough time in the past,” Anderson said. “I look at it as a challenge, an opportunity, (and) I know I’m going to have to play some good tennis.”