Kevin Anderson will look to reach the fourth round at the All England Club for the fourth time when he takes on Philipp Kohlschreiber. Anderson reached his first Grand Slam final last year in New York, but has never reached the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park, Roland Garros or Wimbledon. With the draw opening up he will surely feel this could be his year, but Kohlschreiber is a dangerous opponent and a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist. Who will come out on top?
Anderson and Kohlschreiber have clashed three times so far in their careers, with Anderson having won all three matches. They were drawn to meet in 2012 in Indian Wells in the second round, but Kohlschreiber was forced to withdraw ahead of the match. Two years later Anderson defeated the German in straight sets in the first round in Valencia. In 2015 in Rome, Kohlschreiber was forced to retire after only three games. Then earlier this year Anderson won 6-3 7-6 in Madrid.
Path to the third round
Anderson arrived at Wimbledon after a devastating loss in the fourth round at the French Open from two sets to the good, which may have still been on his mind at Queen’s, where he lost first round. But he looked confident in his first round clash with Norbert Gombos, with the South African advancing 6-3 6-4 6-4. That set up a clash with the Italian veteran Andreas Seppi, once ranked as high as 17th in the world. They split the opening two sets, but Anderson then pulled away to win 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4.
Kohlschreiber’s trip to his native Germany to compete in Stuttgart and Halle yielded just one win, leaving the 25th seed searching for answers. He found them in the first round against Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy. The German played impeccably to advance a straight sets winner, 6-2 6-4 7-5. He then faced a tough assignment against last year’s quarterfinalist and grass court specialist Gilles Muller. Neither man was able to force a break point, but Kohlschreiber played his best when it mattered most winning 7-6 7-6 7-6.
How do they match up?
The 6’8” Anderson’s biggest strength is perhaps unsurprisingly his serve and it has been working well for him so far at the Championships. The eighth seed hammered down 20 aces against Gombos and 34 past Seppi. But he is not just a big server, with his forehand a dependable weapon and his backhand generally solid. His movement can sometimes be exposed, but Anderson can throw such weight behind his shots that his defensive frailties are hard to criticise.
Kohlschreiber does not possess anything like the prowess of Anderson when stepping to the line although he did manage an impressive 24 aces in his second round win against Muller. But he is a model of consistency from the back of the court, with neither wing a weakness to be exploited. He is also comfortable at the net and a good mover. He will need to return well against Anderson, however, a facet of his game that disappointed against Muller.
Though Kohlschreiber has a better record at Wimbledon than Anderson, he has not managed to get a handle on the big man’s power in their three previous meetings. It is hard to see the fast courts at the Championships being the place he does. Grass courts reward big servers and power hitters and Anderson is both, Kohlschreiber neither. That should prove the difference for the man from Johannesburg. Anderson in four.