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Anderson, Klaasen and Harris to fly rainbow flag at #AUSOpen

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Kevin Anderson will lead the South African charge at the Australian Open. Photo: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

JOHANNESBURG – Kevin Anderson will be leading South Africa's charge at the Australian Open starting on Monday.

South Africa's number one singles player will be carrying the flag with doubles supremo Raven Klaasen and Lloyd Harris.

South Africa’s number two singles player Harris reached the main draw of the Australian Open after beating German veteran Dustin Brown 6-1 7-6(10) on Friday.

Harris won all three of his qualifying matches to earn a place for the second Grand Slam of his career.

“I felt I was playing some really good points in that second set but I couldn’t get the break,” Harris told the Australian Open website. “He (Brown) just came up with some ridiculous volleys, and I was just happy to stay solid and win more of the important points in the end.

“Facing an experienced player on a big court might be just what I need, but also to play someone a little lower down and have a chance of winning would also be good.”

Harris continued his rise in international tennis following a stellar 2018 reaching a career-high 110th ATP world ranking after winning two Challenger Series titles.

He made it into his first Grand Slam at the 2018 US Open where former world number six Gilles Simon of France knocked him out in the first round.

Rookie Lloyd Harris qualified for the Australian Open. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Rookie Lloyd Harris qualified for the Australian Open. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Cape Town-based player said he was primed for his Aussie Open debut where he will face Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who is ranked 16th in the world.

“My body is feeling great, I am confident that I will be at my 100% for my first-round match,” Harris said. “It has been amazing for me to bring such a high level of tennis to some of the biggest tournaments that I have played so far.

“So, I’m really happy to have qualified and now I’m just looking to take the next hurdle in the main draw.”

He lost his opening match of the US Open 2-6 2-6 3-6 against former world number six Gilles Simon of France.

The 119th-ranked Harris will join Anderson, who is seeded fifth at the Aussie Open, in the draw.

Anderson will face France’s Adrian Mannarino in his opening match of the tournament next week.

Mannarino, ranked 61st in the world, reached the third third round of the 2018 Australian Open.

South Africa's doubles specialist Raven Klaasen. Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis
South Africa's doubles specialist Raven Klaasen (right). Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Anderson could face number two seed Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal and Roger Federer in the semi-final should he make it that far into the tournament.

He will be looking to become the first South African since Johan Kriek to wjn a major title.

Kriek won back-to-back Australian Open crowns in 1981 and 1982 and is the last South African to win a Grand Slam title.

Meanwhile, South African doubles supremo Raven Klaasen and New Zealand partner Michael Venus suffered a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff in the final of the Auckland Open.

The match was a repeat of the 2018 Rakuten Japan Open final where McLachlan and Struff claimed a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

@ockertde

IOL Sport

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