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11 Mar 2014 19:07
South African tennis player Kevin Anderson. (AFP)
South Africa's Kevin Anderson will be facing a milestone test in his burgeoning tennis career when he meets recent Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters tournament on Thursday morning (South Africa time).
Wawrinka's success in Australia has elevated him to a number three world ranking, with a 13-0 unbeaten run in matches this year earning him the status as the form player on the ATP circuit.
The 17th-seeded Anderson will be defending his recently acquired career best world ranking of 18.
As a seed, Anderson received a bye in the first round at Indian Wells, going on to beat Lleyton Hewitt in the second round and Evgeny Donskoy in the third round.
But Wawrinka, who has beaten Anderson in all three previous meetings, will pose an altogether more daunting test.
However, with former South African Davis Cup player Neville Godwin as his new coach, Anderson has reached the final of the Mexican Open and Delray Beach tournaments in the past couple of weeks, before losing to East Europeans Marin Cilic and Grigor Durmitov.
In all, he has won two 250-rated tournaments in his professional career since 2008 and lost in six other ATP finals. But he has yet to progress beyond the fourth round in a Grand Slam event or make a major impact in a Masters tournament.
At 27, Anderson is looking at 2014 as a breakthrough year and hoping to cement a place among the world's top 15 players, if not a prestigious position in the top 10.
It has started promisingly under Godwin, but Indian Wells promises to be a revealing test with all the world's leading players apart from the injured David Ferrer and Juan-Martin Del Potro, and Rafael Nadal after a shock defeat by Alexandr Dolgopolov, in the field.
The winner of the Wawrinka-Anderson clash will face either Roger Federer or Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals.
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