By Dave Seminara
Kevin Anderson might look like Keith Richards in his ATP profile photo, but he played like a guy with his best years still yet to come, despite falling to Rafael Nadal at the Rexall Centre in Toronto on Thursday night, 6-2, 7-6.Â Using a punishing serve, and a Berdych-esque forehand, he gave the worldâ€™s number one all he wanted and more, before succumbing 7-5 in a 2nd set tiebreak. Â The fact that a guy like Anderson, who is ranked 87 in the world, and plays tournaments in places like Binghamton and New Caledonia, can force Nadal to have to pluck his shorts a few more times than usual, is a testament to how deep the menâ€™s game is right now.
The Rexall Centre was nearly filled, and the crowd supported Nadal throughout the encounter. An usher told me that when the men play in Toronto in even years, they outdraw the women who play here in odd years, 2-1. During the womenâ€™s tournament, they allow fans from the rafters to come down to the lower bowl after the 1st few games. Perhaps the Toronto experience bolsters L. Jon Wertheimâ€™s recent column in Tennis magazine, in which he opines that equal prize money for the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s draws is a bad idea.
Friday’s lineup is a monster card, with a resurgent David Nalbandian squaring off against Andy Murray, and Â Rafael Nadal facing the always tough German, Philipp Kohlschreiber in the matinee.Â Tonight, Federer gets a shot to avenge his Wimbledon loss to Thomas Berdych, and Novak Djokovic faces Jeremy Chardy in the night-owl match.