HEAD racquet rebels Kevin Anderson and Ivan Dodig both claimed their maiden career title triumphing in in front of their home crowd. Anderson won the South African Open in Johannesburg while Croatian Ivan Dodig succeeded in Zagreb.
The 24-year-old Anderson (picture), playing with a YouTek Prestige MP, added the ATP title to his four at the Challenger level in a breaktrough which could
kick-start the career of the big server who played his university tennis in the US. The Johannesburg local defeated India's Somdev Devvarman 4-6 6-3,
Anderson fought back from a set down to finally overcome Devvarman and become the first South African since Wesley Moodie in 2005 at Tokyo to lift ATP singles honours. Rain interrupted play for 90 minutes in the tight first set. "I didn’t have any pressure, I just tried to concentrate on my tennis and play point by point until the last point," said the winner. "I was serving very well all week, especially on the important points. I’m really happy that my serve was working great in every match.”
“The rain helped me re-focus and re-set - I came out there as a different person. Even though I lost the first set, I was able to turn things around and play really good in the second and third." Anderson was playing in his second ATP final after Las Vegas three years ago and reached a new career-high in the ATP World Tour ranking (No. 40).
Ivan Dodig (YouTek Radical MP) beat German Michael Berrer 6-3, 6-4 after upsetting fellow Croatian and HEAD player Ivan Ljubicic (YouTek IG Extreme Pro) with a straight-set semi-final win. “This is the best thing that can happen to a player - to play at home in front of your own crowd and win your first title," said Dodig, the 25-year-old who improved his career-high ranking to No. 60. "I’m really happy and enjoying the moment. It’s been amazing all week; it’s an unbelievable experience."
Dodig was entering uncharted territory after never getting past a semi-final before last week; the winner saved all seven of the break points he faced, firing 16 aces to conclude in 98 minutes. His home victory kept Croatians in command in Zagreb after titles from HEAD's Marin Cilic in 2009 and 2010. Ljubicic won the trophy in 2006.