In front of a packed crowd on Aug. 29, world No. 15 Kevin Anderson became the 2015 Winston-Salem Open champion with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
This is Anderson’s first title since 2012 in a year in which he has come up short in two other finals in Memphis, Tenn., and Queen’s Club in London just before The Championships, Wimbledon earlier this summer.
“I’ve been in the finals a few times and come a little bit short, which is always tough, and obviously it feels fantastic to get that win,” Anderson said after the trophy presentation. “It’s been a few years since I’ve won a tournament, and [this is] definitely something I can look back and feel very happy about.”
The six-foot-eight Anderson recorded 16 aces throughout the match, with Herbert following close behind at 13.
Herbert, a 24-year-old Frenchman who qualified for the event, surpassed all expectations to reach his first ATP event final with several upsets, including one over American Steve Johnson in the semifinals. Herbert, who was previously No. 140 in the world, is likely to see a significant jump in his rank, possibly into the top 100.
After the victory, Anderson will rise to No. 14 in the world and says he feels confident heading into the last grand slam of the year in New York.
“It’s great preparation, of course,” Anderson said. “The only [tough] thing is having quite a few matches and just being fresh, but I feel like my body’s good [and] I’ve got a great team behind me.”
Both Anderson and Herbert left North Carolina for New York, where the U.S. Open begins on Monday, Aug. 31.
Tournament director Bill Oakes — also an associate director of athletics at the university — expressed his happiness with this year’s event and the tournament’s prospects for the future. Primary sponsors for the Winston-Salem Open have recommitted to the event for another five years, ensuring the tournament’s presence at Wake Forest through 2020.
“I think it was our best year,” Oakes said after the championship match, citing increased ticket sales and record attendance. “I think we’re in a really good place for the future … with our presenting sponsors and many of our other sponsors committed through 2020, and the [U.S. Open Series] deal and the TV deal really puts us in a great position for the future.”
Oakes, whose contract as tournament director has just been renewed, also said he was pleased with the strength of the player field this year, saying that it helps build the tournament’s reputation.
“I think it helps us when a top-20 player wins,” Oakes said. “I do think having a top-20 player helps us with credibility for the players, the media [and] the fans.”
Oakes heads to New York, N.Y., next week for the U.S. Open to begin recruiting players for next year’s event.