Kevin Anderson put both arms in the air for good reason after completing a 7-6(1), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win against Jiri Vesely on Monday in the first round of the US Open. The South African had just hit his 49th ace, tying his career-best mark in a four-hour, 22-minute victory.
“I think I served at a very consistently high level, and especially in the tie-breaks. I probably served some of my best through them and obviously that’s really important,” Anderson said. “Overall, just really, really pleased to get through.”
Anderson’s 49 aces put him in a tie for third-most at the US Open since 1991 alongside Richard Krajicek. Only Ivo Karlovic (61, 2016) and John Isner (52, 2020) have hit more during that time at the season’s final major. Four of the top-five ace counts at the US Open since 1991 have come since 2016.
Most Aces In A US Open Match (since 1991)
Anderson saved his best serving for the final set, in which he hit 17 aces to claw past the Czech lefty. In the match, 46.5 per cent of the former World No. 5’s first serves that landed in (47/101) resulted in an ace.
“A pretty exciting match out there, playing in a fifth-set tie-break,” Anderson said. “[There] was great crowd support towards the end. I really felt a lot of people behind me, which was really enjoyable to play in.”
The two-time major finalist has enjoyed success at Flushing Meadows before, reaching the final in 2017 (l. to Nadal). He also made the quarter-finals in 2015, defeating Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem and Andy Murray during his run.
Last year, Schwartzman suffered a heartbreaking defeat from two sets up in his first-round match in New York against Cameron Norrie. This time, he did not let slip his advantage, striking 23 winners in his victory.
Anderson leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 2-1, but they have not played since Roland Garros in 2018. In that match, Schwartzman rallied from two sets down to win in five sets.
Did You Know?
This was Anderson’s second five-set win against Vesely. The South African defeated the Czech lefty 2-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the 2014 Australian Open. Their ATP Head2Head series is now level at 3-3.