Both South Africans in the Australian Open men’s singles draw, Kevin Anderson and Lloyd Harris fell at the first hurdle. Though their stay in Melbourne exceeded that of Novak Djokovic, it was a very disappointing showing by our hopefuls.

Harris first to fall

World No.32 Lloyd Harris became the first seeded player to bow out of the Tournament at Melbourne Park. The 24-year old expected to cruise through to the second round with Wildcard Aleksandar Vukic his challenger first up. However, the Capetonian couldn’t get the upperhand. It also didn’t help Harris playing an inspired Aussie first up.

Vukic, who hails from Sydney, was heavily backed by the home crowd. That energy fed the world number-144, who fought back to claim a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 and 7-6 (7-3) win over the 30th seed Harris in nearly three hours. This is the biggest win in the underdogs’ career, and he becomes the first Aussie player to move on to the next round.

The Sydneysider will next face Moldovan qualifier Radu Albot, and will potentially go on to face 3rd seed Alexander Zverev.

Harris will meanwhile team up with Australia’s Alexei Popyrin for potential Doubles success. Both Harris and the other Capetonian competing in the Doubles draw, Raven Klaasen, start their campaign on Wednesday (19 January 2022).

Unlucky draw for Anderson

The 35-year old Anderson, who dropped to an ATP ranking of 100, had a tougher draw. The 23rd seed American Reily Opelka made light work of the Saffa, using up only one hour and 46 minutes of his day. 6-3, 6-4 and 7-6 (7-3) was the result on Melbourne Park’s Court 15.

The 24-year old Opelka will face German Dominik Koepfer next, after the World number 105 beat Spaniard Carlos Taberner 6-1, 6-6, 6-4 and 6-1.