South African Kevin Anderson defeated Chile's Cristian Garin on Monday at the inaugural ATP Cup team event. The 6-0 6-3 victory over Garin was Anderson's first match after making a comeback to competitive tennis.
A runner at last year's Wimbledon and 2017 US Open, Anderson participated in only five tournaments last year after being forced out of competition due to a knee injury that required surgical intervention.
The 33-year-old lost 7-6(5) 7-6(6) to Novak Djokovic in his return to action on Saturday, his first match since the third round of Wimbledon in July, but proved too good for Garin.
A tight performance
The former world number five did not face a single break point against Garin, sealing the tie for South Africa in the $15 million ATP Cup which features 24 nations competing in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney over 10 days. "Got off to a really good start and I feel like a lot of things we have been working on, I was able to implement them," Anderson said in Brisbane.
Being his first match post-recovery, the tie was slightly taxing for the South African. "A little bit physically draining after my first match. It's always, as much as you work off the court, it's always a little bit different being in a match environment," he said.
Players from across the world descend on Australia
The world's top players have assembled for the ATP Cup and are using the event to prepare for this month's Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne from Jan. 20. Marin Cilic, the U.S. Open champion in 2014, followed up Saturday's win against Austrian Dennis Novak with a 7-6(8) 6-4 win over 20-year-old Kacper Zuk of Poland.
Cilic converted only one of 13 break point opportunities but his win in Sydney was enough to set up Croatia's second victory at the event after they blanked Austria 3-0. "Today, if I have to pick some things that I need to do better, it's just converting breakpoints. I had a lot of them," Cilic said.
Japan also completed their second win as Yoshihito Nishioka and Go Soeda emerged victorious in their singles matches to seal the tie against Georgia in Perth.
(With inputs from agencies)