Anderson, Mannarino survive at SA Tennis Open
Johannesburg: Normality returned to the shock-strewn South African Open with remaining seeds Kevin Anderson and Adrian Mannarino reaching the quarter-finals.
South African Anderson gradually took control against Israeli Dudi Sela to triumph 6-4, 6-2 in the 442,500-dollar ATP tournament at the Tuscan-style Montecasino entertainment centre north of Johannesburg.
Frenchman Mannarino took a little longer to take command against German Denis Gremelmayr before winning 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4 in an error-saturated match.
Indian Davis Cup star Somdev Devvarman is the sole Asian among the last eight after Japanese Go Soeda failed to build on a bright start and was eventually overwhelmed when losing 6-3, 5-7, 0-6 to Slovak Karol Beck.
Canadian giantkiller Frank Dancevic, who beat top seed and title holder Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the opening round, edged local favourite Fritz Wolmarans 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in a feature game that matched its billing.
Anderson must have wondered if was going to join six other seeds, including number two Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan and number three Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, on the scrapheap after losing two previous encounters against Sela.
But any fears the number one South African player had proved unfounded as he always looked the likely winner on a day when the mid-afternoon thunderstorms stayed away and a partly cloudy sky offered some relief to the competitors.
"I am focused on my game and just hope I can keep it up," said Anderson, who faces the added pressure of living up to considerable pre-tournament hype in the South African media.
Mannarino, a 22-year-old left hander seeking his maiden ATP title, confessed that he played "not so good" when booking a last-eight place after a rare game in which jet-propelled serves did not dominate at 1,800 metres above sea level.
Only 17 places separate Beck and Soeda in the world rankings, making it all the more difficult to fathom why the Asian offered so little resistance when it came to the crunch.
Dancevic brushed aside a neck injury to take the first-set tiebreaker after winning five points on the trot to overturn a 3-0 deficit and shaded 100-kilogram Wolmarans in a second set of several service breaks.
The Canadian lauded his opponent: "He came out firing and there was very little between us. Feliciano (Lopez) has a big serve but Fritz has an even bigger one. The difference was I made a couple of crucial returns."