Former US Open finalist Kevin Anderson to face Alexander Zverev in US Open first round

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 06: Kevin Anderson of South Africa plays a shot in his match against Cristian Garin of Chile during day four of the 2020 ATP Cup Group Stage at Pat Rafter Arena on January 06, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Kevin Anderson of South Africa. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

South African Kevin Anderson will play against Alexander Zverev of Germany in the first round of this year’s US Open, the last Grand Slam of the tennis calendar.

Anderson, the 2017 US Open finalist, could possibly not have asked for a tougher assignment, other than Novak Djokovic, as he has failed to beat the world number seven in their five meetings.

Anderson’s tough draw was inevitable due to the fact that he has slipped down the rankings (now 124th) primarily due to injuries which have affected his game.

The former world number five will, however, hope to capitalize on some of the inconsistencies Zverev has previously experienced to advance to the second round.

Lloyd Harris, another South African and the highest ranked African player (97), will take on Italian Marco Cecchinato, who is ranked nine places below him (106).

Egyptian Mohamed Safwat, ranked 135, will face veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon.

In the women’s draw, Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur will play against Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa, who is ranked more than 80 places below her.

Jabeur, who has had a breakthrough year in 2020, will hope to improve on her quarterfinal showing at the Australian Open where she made history by becoming the first Arab woman to make an appearance in the last eight of a Grand Slam.

Serbian Novak Djokovic and Czech Karolina Pliskova are the respective men’s and women’s top seeds in the singles draw. Djokovic will play against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur while Pliskova will play against Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine.

The tournament has faced some controversy in the run-up to its beginning due to the withdrawal of several high-profile players, especially on the women’s side, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 US Open will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center between August 31 and September 13.

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