ATP Finals: How Kevin Anderson stacks up
Cape Town - South African tennis star Kevin Anderson’s reward after a stellar season is a maiden appearance at the ATP Finals, starting in London on Sunday.
Anderson has had an exceptional year, winning two titles and claiming a runner-up spot at three other events.
His most notable achievement was reaching the Wimbledon final where he fell in straight sets to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
It was nevertheless a memorable Wimbledon for the 6-foot-8 South African.
He upset Swiss great Roger Federer 13-11 in the final set of a marathon quarter-final, before winning another epic in the semi-finals against America's John Isner - he prevailed 26-24 in the final set of an encounter lasting six hours and 36 minutes.
There's no doubt that the world No 6 thoroughly deserved his ticket to the prestigious year-end event to be played at London’s O2 arena, where he was drawn in the same group as Federer, Austria's Dominic Thiem and Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
Anderson will open his account against Thiem on Sunday, before matches against Federer and Nishikori await next week.
Sport24 has taken a look at how Anderson stacks up against his opponents in Group Lleyton Hewitt:
Anderson v Thiem
Anderson boasts a 6-2 win-loss record against world No 8 Thiem, but the Austrian has won their last two meetings.
Thiem won the most recent encounter in straight sets at this year’s US Open and also beat Anderson in straight sets in this year’s Madrid Masters clay court event.
Thiem is more adept on clay and Anderson can take heart from the fact that all six of his wins over the Austrian have come on hard courts.
Thiem’s recent victory in the US Open round of 16 did come on an outdoor hard court, but the indoor environment at the O2 Arena could sway the pendulum back in Anderson’s favour.
Anderson v Federer
Federer leads the rivalry 4-1 and looked on course to win the pair's Wimbledon quarter-final when he had a match point leading by two sets to love.
But Anderson saved the match point on his own serve before rallying to win in five sets.
Before that encounter, the 20-time Grand Slam winner had comfortably won all four if his matches against Anderson.
Anderson v Nishikori
Nishikori leads 5-3 head-to-head and beat Anderson 6-4, 6-4 at last week's Paris Masters.
However, just days earlier Anderson had beaten the Japanese star 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in the Vienna Open final to claim his fifth career title.
Anderson also beat Nishikori 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) en route to the title at the New York Open earlier this year.
The South African will feel confident he can emerge as one of the two qualifiers from his group, where a semi-final encounter against either Djokovic, Isner, Germany's Alexander Zverev or Croatia's Marin Cilic will lie in wait.
Anderson's record against the above-mentioned quartet is however not that flash, as shown in the comparison below:
Anderson v Djokovic: Djokovic leads 7-1
Anderson v Isner: Isner leads 8-4
Anderson v Zverev: Zverev leads 4-0
Anderson v Cilic: Cilic leads 6-1
ATP Finals groups:
Singles - Group Guga Kuerten
(1) Novak Djokovic (SRB)
(3) Alexander Zverev (GER)
(5) Marin Cilic (CRO)
(8) John Isner (USA)
Singles - Group Lleyton Hewitt
(2) Roger Federer (SUI)
(4) Kevin Anderson (RSA)
(6) Dominic Thiem (AUT)
(7) Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Doubles - Group Knowles/Nestor
(1) Oliver Marach (AUT)/Mate Pavic (CRO)
(3) Lukasz Kubot (POL)/Marcelo Melo (BRA)
(5) Mike Bryan (USA)/Jack Sock (USA)
(8) Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)/Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
Doubles - Group Llodra/Santoro
(2) Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL)/Robert Farah (COL)
(4) Jamie Murray (GBR)/Bruno Soares (BRA)
(6) Raven Klaasen (RSA)/Michael Venus (NZL)
(7) Nikola Mektic (CRO)/Alexander Peya (AUT)
*Note: The groups are named after former champions of the event