Tennis ace Kevin Anderson won
In the process, Anderson booked his place for the Nitto ATP Finals in London next month joining Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev for the season-ending event.
“It’s fantastic. It’s been a huge goal of mine all year,” Anderson said after lifting the trophy.
“I felt I came pretty close the two previous seasons, but I missed out on it. I think it’s one of our biggest tournaments of the year, really celebrates the top-8 players of the year.”
Anderson’s tussle with the Japanese star was his fifth tour-level final of the season and second trophy of the year. He beat Nishikori in February to win the New York Open.
“You have to win a lot of big matches against the best opponents in the world to book your spot there, so it’s fantastic to be amongst the best eight players in the world,” Anderson said.
“And just London, the event itself, I’ve heard so much about it – a great arena, a great atmosphere – and to do it by winning my first 500 here in Vienna, as well, is a great combination.”
His victory is the latest in a dream year for South Africa’s top-ranked singles tennis player after reaching his second career Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
He became the first player in 97 years to represent South Africa in the men’s singles final of the prestigious grass court event.
“It means a lot [to win my first ATP World Tour 500 title]. It has been a long time coming… any time you make a final, you want to put the history behind you and it was always going to be a tough match,” Anderson said.
“I was up against an unbelievable opponent in Kei and I really had to play some amazing tennis. I couldn’t be more pleased to have kept at it and finally broken through at this level.”
South Africa will have two players at the Nitto ATP Finals with Raven Klaasen qualifying for the doubles event in London.