Kevin Anderson fought back from a set down with a serving masterclass to defeat Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets and reach his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open on Friday night.
The hard-hitting South African fired 58 winners to beat his Spanish opponent 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 and reach Sunday’s final at Flushing Meadows where he will face the winner of the clash between world No 1 Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro from Argentina.
“It’s been a long road. These Grand Slams are tough. We’ve been privileged to play with some of the best players to ever play the game and it’s nice that some of them gave us a shot at this tournament.
“This is why we work so hard. It was an unbelievably tough match, I was pretty nervous starting out. I really had to dig deep there. I think just my emotion at the end summed it up. I’m just over the moon.”
The Spaniard required a single break of serve in a nearly perfect opening set of tennis with just one unforced error to take it in 33 minutes. The 12th-seed broke Anderson’s serve for a 4-3 lead and never faced any danger in improving to 16-0 in sets so far in Flushing Meadows.
Anderson had been broken only three times in his first 90 service games in the tournament but Carreno Busta was proving to be a different proposition.
The 6ft 8inch Anderson won both his previous meetings against Carreno Busta, including in Montreal last month, and he evened up the contest to become the first player to take a set off his opponent in the tournament.
Carreno Busta had won his first 16 sets in the tournament before the 28th seed started finding the range and following a couple of breaks each Anderson eventually capitalised when the 26-year-old double-faulted to hand him a set point, which he duly took.
Anderson, who became the first South African player to make the last four at a Grand Slam since Wayne Ferreira 14 years ago, quickly established a 4-1 lead in the next and it wasn’t long before he moved one set away from a place in Sunday’s showpiece, pounding a 132 mph ace to end the set.
A break in the fifth game of the fourth set was enough for 31-year-old Anderson who stayed calm and composed to serve the match out in just under three hours of action – despite a phenomenal 38-shot rally at the start of the game – to reach the first-ever major final of his career.
Anderson will attempt to become his country’s first Grand Slam champion since Johan Kriek at the 1981 Australian Open.
Cliff Drysdale was the last South African man in the US Open final in 1965 but he was defeated by Manuel Santana.
Match Stats: Anderson v Carreno Busta Aces 22 1 Double faults 1 2 1st serve win percentage 83% 64% 2nd serve win percentage 66% 52% Net points won 26/36 5/10 Break points won 4/14 2/4 Winners 58 21 Unforced errors 43 25 Total points won 137 110
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