By McCarton Ackerman
Throughout the year, EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com will feature players who could make an impact during this year's Series. Here’s a look at 27-year-old Kevin Anderson, who has already scored two Top-5, hard-court wins in 2014.
The Baseline: John Isner isn’t the only giant on tour. At 6-foot-8, Anderson is one of the tallest men in tennis -- and his results are starting to match his stature.
The world No. 19 is continuing to produce outstanding results on outdoor hard courts. In March, Anderson reached the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells by defeating reigning Australian Open champion and world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka. The month before, he reached the final of the ATP event in Delray Beach, Fla., and he knocked out world No. 5 David Ferrer the following week en route to the semifinals of the ATP tournament in Acapulco, Mexico.
Last summer, he reached the final of the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Atlanta and the quarterfinals at the Series stop in Washington, D.C. And back in 2011, he recorded his first career Top 5 win by defeating Andy Murray in the second round of the Series event in Montreal.
The Breakdown: Anderson is known for having one of the biggest serves in men’s tennis, using that shot to set up his forehand, resulting in plenty of short points. It’s a style of play that’s perfectly suited to North American hard courts. This year, he has bolstered his game through increased mobility and fitness, a big reason for his success in three-set matches (6-2 thus far this year). That should serve him well during the often humid conditions of the Series.
And while he has struggled on the US Open stage -- his best results are the third round in 2010 and 2011 -- he has done well in the Series. In addition to his results in 2013, Anderson reached the quarterfinals in Atlanta and Washington in 2012 and the semifinals in Atlanta in 2010. If he can package those results with deeper runs in Cincinnati and Toronto, he's a threat to post a Top 3 Series finish in 2014.