WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — Second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa and No. 13 seed Steve Johnson of the U.S. were among four seeded players to advance Wednesday to the quarterfinals at the Winston-Salem Open.
Anderson, ranked 15th in the world, beat 2014 finalist Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 7-6 (2), 6-4 at the Wake Forest Tennis Center.
Johnson, the lone American remaining, topped third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4).
In a battle of big hitters — both players are 6-foot-8 — Anderson served 17 aces and took advantage of a service break in the second set to improve to 3-0 against the 16th-seeded Janowicz.
“I was really pleased with today’s performance,” Anderson said. “It was an improvement from yesterday. I really served well today, and that was my big goal. I really took care of my own serve games, especially when you’re playing a big server like Jerzy, that’s one of the most important aspects.
“I also did a good job of staying patient on the returns. I didn’t necessarily feel I returned my best, but when it counted, I definitely made some returns.”
Janowicz, who beat defending champion Lukas Rosol in the second round Tuesday, was clearly frustrated in the second set. He was twice called for foot faults, and was given a code violation for hitting a ball out of the stadium after the service break.
“The first set was a good fight for both players,” Janowicz said. “You never know how it’s going to be in a tiebreak, but I lost it. But the second set was completely destroyed by the linesmen. They called a foot fault after my ace when it was 30-all, and that destroyed my match right there.
“Being broken is nothing really special, but being broken because of the linesmen, this is painful. It’s quite annoying when its 30-all in an important game, and they call a foot fault.”
Anderson will face 18-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia on Thursday. The eighth-seeded Coric beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-1.
Johnson, ranked No. 49, picked up his second win of the season over a top-20 opponent and his first since beating then-No. 16 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in Washington three weeks ago.
Johnson had appeared in command of the match after breaking Tsonga’s serve in the first set. But Tsonga fought back in the second set, breaking back on Johnson in the deciding game.
“I kinda let that second set slip away,” Johnson said. “You give a guy two free points in a game, he’s going to play well at some point. I was fortunate to hold on in the third (set), and held on in the (tiebreaker).”
Tsonga, who had 13 aces, was down 2-1 and on serve in the tiebreaker when he double faulted. That began a run of four consecutive points for Johnson, who was able to serve out the match after giving up three match points.
“It’s disappointing,” said Tsonga, now 2-10 this season in matches where he lost the first set. “I used to be better, but today (Johnson) played a great match. He deserved it.”
On Thursday, Johnson will take on Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu, a 7-6 (1), 1-6, 7-5 winner over South Korea’s Hyeon Chung.
Also, sixth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil beat 11th-seedeed Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-4; Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri beat 15th-seeded Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 7-5, 6-4; France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat Britain’s Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-0; and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta topped Italy’s Simone Bolelli 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
In the other quarterfinals, Bellucci will face Jaziri; and Herbert will meet Carreno Busta.