NEW YORK • Kevin Anderson ended the determined run of American Sam Querrey to reach a second straight US Open semi-final, as the South African prevailed in a tight quarter-final clash which finished just before 2am in New York yesterday.
Anderson fired 66 winners, including 22 aces, to win 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (9-11), 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) to claim a place in the last four of a Slam for the first time.
Querrey tried to put on a brave front after the narrow defeat.
"I'm pretty happy," he said after the match, which involved three tie-breaks and lasted slightly more than 31/2 hours.
"At the beginning of the week, if you said I would have made quarters, I probably would have signed up for that. I know that bottom half of the draw was open, but you can't say 63 guys blew an opportunity. Only one guy can go through, and Kevin's pretty tough."
Querrey led the first-set tie-break 5-2 only to lose it and even after winning a dramatic second-set tie-break, always seemed second best as Anderson went for broke.
The 31-year-old, who is the first South African man or woman to reach the semi-finals at the US Open in the Open era, romped through the third set and held his nerve in the fourth to win the tie-break 9-7, saving a set point.
"He's tough to play against," Querrey added. "He's so overly aggressive. A lot of his balls were landing (just) in. It's just tough. I thought he played really well in the big points."
Anderson's win also ended the American presence in the men's draw, while Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams have both qualified for the last four in the women's competition.
The No. 28 seed will play in the semi-finals on Friday (Saturday morning, Singapore time) against the 12th seed Pablo Carrena-Busta of Spain, who beat Argentinian 29th seed Diego Schartzman 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Anderson believes the key to his win was that he was able to "reset" his approach to the game during the intense second-set tie-break.
"You know, those matches are tough. I feel like I just try to play each point as best as I can," he said.
"I felt in the second set, after being 6-1 down and the next minute it's 6-all, obviously a very tough point to lose that 6-all point.
"But I feel like that's where I was able to really reset. It's almost tougher, it would have been better off losing that tie-break almost 7-1 than coming so close to actually being two sets to love up.
"I felt I did a fantastic job resetting. These matches, it just comes to a point here and there. Fortunately, I was able to win a couple more points than him tonight."