Former Illini Kevin Anderson wins a pair of titles in New Orleans.
Sept. 17, 2007
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Former Illini and two-time All-American Kevin Anderson, just months after turning professional and foregoing his senior season at Illinois, won his first singles and doubles titles at the Bruno & Bruno Lawyers Men's Challenger in New Orleans hosted Sept. 10-16. The 2007 NCAA semifinalist and 2007 ITA Player to Watch had to battle his way out of the qualifying brackets in both singles and doubles, winning seven straight to capture the singles crown and another six consecutive with former Illini Ryler DeHeart in doubles to make it two titles for the weekend.
In Anderson's amazing run to the titles, he took down three top 200 players to rocket to a career-high No. 232 in the world in singles. The titles marked his first Challenger singles and doubles titles of his career and his third and fourth overall titles in 2007.
Anderson's singles road began with a bye in the first round as the top seed of qualifying before defeating No. 1334 Jean Yves Aubone of the United States, 6-4, 6-4. Anderson then dismissed No. 734 Tim Smyczek of the USA to earn his spot in the main draw, drawing No. 195 Dusan Vemic of Serbia in the opening round. Continuing to move through the draw, Anderson handled Vemic with ease, 6-4, 6-2, before having to meet another former Illini, No. 203 Rajeev Ram of the United States, in the second round.
Ram was a formidable challenger to the South African native, but after a three-set marathon, it was Anderson who prevailed 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(8). In the quarters, Anderson did not lose steam as he took down No. 114 Bobby Reynolds 7-5, 7-6(5) in straights before overtaking Ryan Sweeting of the United States, 6-3, 6-4 in the semis. The feat was momentous, as No. 265 Sweeting had previously taken out top-seeded and Illinois' 2003 NCAA singles champion Amer Delic - ranked No. 81 - in the third round before facing Anderson. With only one more opponent standing in the way of his first career Challenger singles title, Anderson did not let the chance slip by as he defeated No. 164 Sam Warburg of the United States in straights, 6-4, 6-0.
In doubles, Anderson and DeHeart cruised through qualifying, earning wins over the pairs of Dane Chuntraruk (USA) and Victor Romero (MEX) 6-1, 6-0, and the United State's Danny Bryan and Michael Venus, 6-1, 6-2, to advance into the main draw. Once there, the success continued with a win over wild card entries Delic and Scott Humpries, 7-5, 7-5, before a retirement from second-seeded Nathan Healey and Robert Smeets of Australia at 2-1 in the first set.
In the semifinals, a three-set battle ensued against the No. 222-ranked pair of former Illini Brian Wilson and Travis Parrott of the United States, but again it was Anderson and DeHeart who prevailed with a 4-6, 6-3, 13-11 victory in the end.
With the title one win from their grasp, the former Orange and Blue pair would not let it elude them, as they took out No. 154-ranked Ram and Reynolds in the finals, 6-3, 6-2 to hoist the trophy.