DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Anderson beat Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Sunday to win the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships for his second career ATP title.
The seventh-seeded Anderson, the first South African to win this 20-year-old tournament, is now 2-1 in career finals, having won his first title at the now defunct 2011 Johannesburg tournament.
“It’s fantastic,” said Anderson, who went to Illinois and lives in the Chicago area where his wife, Kelsey, grew up. “First title in the United States which is great. Apart from South Africa this is my second home. Winning one in the United States is especially exciting.”
The 36th-ranked Anderson — he’ll move up to around No. 30 in the next rankings, which will be released Monday — gained a lot of attention here this week as he beat the two American favorites — Andy Roddick in quarterfinals and John Isner in the semis.
The first five games of the match ended in service breaks before Anderson settled down to hold serve to take a 4-2 lead. He held onto the edge to close out the opening set.
“I thought I got off to a good start with that break, but I just think a little bit nervous for me,” Anderson said. “I don’t know how he was feeling. I felt he was making a few more serves than me and I was making some more baseline exchanges.
“I just had to find my rhythm. But after that second break (in the fourth game of the first set) I never faced another break point.”
Brad Dancer was impressed.
“I know there are a lot of hard workers out there who are playing professionaltennis, but Kevin Anderson has to be at the top of that list,” the Illinois coach said. “Everything he accomplishes reflects his work ethic, time and energy that he puts into being the absolute best he can be.”