South Africa: Anderson Out but Joy for SA Junior in U.S.

Kevin Anderson is out of the US Open, the tall South African being brought down to earth in round four by Dominic Thiem on Sunday afternoon.

But it's not all bad news for South Africa as Philip Henning won through to the second round of the US Open Juniors.

Thiem stretched 2017 finalist Anderson far and wide to achieve a pair of firsts at the US Open.

The ninth-seeded Thiem beat Anderson for the first time on hard courts, the score 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2), to make his first Grand Slam quarter-final outside of Roland Garros, Paris.

Thiem had never got beyond the fourth round in Flushing, falling three times in the past four years. But the 24-year-old Austrian served nearly perfectly and gave the 6ft 8in South African little time to unleash his mammoth groundstrokes.

'It was one of my best matches ever,' Thiem said.

Anderson won the first six of their head-to-head meetings, all on hard courts. But Thiem won in straight sets, earlier this year, on the quick-moving clay in Madrid.

On Sunday, he played as if they were on a clay court at times and flipped the script against Anderson. Thiem, not Anderson, dominated on serve, winning 91% of his first-serve points (41/45) and never facing a break point. His heavy groundstrokes and soft drop shots forced Anderson to retrieve from side-to-side, back-to-front.

Anderson served and volleyed, and he came to net 48 times, trying to take advantage of Thiem's deep return position - he stood nearly next to the line judges and with his back against the Chase sign in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

But the fifth-seeded South African might have been feeling the effects of his earlier matches. He had already spent nearly 10 hours on-court, battling cramps and beating Ryan Harrison in five sets during his opener, and on Friday, playing another three hours, 43 minutes against 28th seed Denis Shapovalov.

'For sure, also, this court helped me,' Thiem said. 'It's very, very big. I could go far back at the return, which helped me, which is a little bit like on clay, and this was also a little bit of an advantage today.'

Thiem broke in the 11th game of the opener, for the first break of the match and served out the set. Anderson was then broken to love to start the second and Thiem rolled from there.

After the second set, the South African went to the locker room for more than eight minutes, and he regrouped to erase a break point in the seventh game and force a tiebreaker. But Thiem, on his first match point, chased down an Anderson volley for a backhand slice winner, his 41st of the day.

Out on court 10, South Africa's highest world-ranked junior (50) Henning, of Bloemfontein, impressed with a solid 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nicolas Alvarez Varona of Spain. Alvarez Varona is ranked 17 places higher than Henning (pictured above) on the world rankings at 33rd.

In a match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes, Henning was always in control and said he felt happy the way he played. 'I felt good on court today and was very pleased with the way I played. The win was important to me, especially being the first round, it always gives great satisfaction to get through the first match.'

Henning, a member of Team SA at the AUSC Region 5 Games in Angola two years ago, broke serve early in the opening set to lead 2-1. Alvarez Varona broke back in the eighth game to level the set at 4-4. An aggressive Henning then immediately broke back to lead 5-4 and held serve to take the opening set 6-4.

The second set went with serve until the ninth game when Henning broke serve and then held to take the set and match.

Up next for Henning in round two awaits top seed Chun Tsing Tseng of Taiwan.

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