AAP Tennis

Kevin Anderson survives Open wobble

By AAP Newswire

In-form fifth seed Kevin Anderson has avoided another first-round banana skin at the Australian Open to set up a clash with American young gun Frances Tiafoe.

Anderson, a two-time grand slam finalist, took almost three hours to get past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3 5-7 6-2 6-1 on Monday.

Runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year and to Rafael Nadal at the 2017 US Open, Anderson entered this year's Australian Open in fine touch after winning his sixth ATP tour title last week in Pune, India.

But having lost in the first round in Melbourne six times, including to Kyle Edmund last year, the South African was relieved to have won his first match at the Open since 2015.

Anderson will meet Tiafoe for a place in the third round after the 20-year-old brushed aside qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 6-3.

Former Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov and highly-rated Greek 14th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were among other winners on day one.

Dimitrov, the 20th seed this year after falling down the rankings in 2018, got past Serbian veteran Janko Tipsarevic 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-4 while Tsitsipas beat Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Russian 10th seed Karen Khachanov also progressed, ousting German Peter Gojowozyk 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-3.

But British 13th seed Edmund won't be matching his 2018 run to the semi-finals after being hammered 6-3 6-0 7-5 by veteran Czech Tomas Berdych.

American ninth seed John Isner also made a surprise exit, going down in a battle of the tall timber against countryman Reilly Opelka.

Two of the biggest players in tennis, Isner and Opelka slugged it out before the latter won 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5).