Kevin Anderson became the first South African in 52 years to reach the US Open final on Friday, downing Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain.
Anderson produced an excellent fightback from a set down to reach his first Grand Slam final by defeating Carreño Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
Anderson and Carreño Busta took full advantage of the absence of top seeds, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori to reach their first ever Grand Slam semi-final. But Anderson took it a step further.
Prior to this match Carreño Busta had not dropped a set at the tournament, helped by playing four qualifiers, and he was a set to the good on Friday, breaking in the seventh game.
The Spaniard pocketed the opener hitting just two winners and only one unforced error.
Anderson later got into his strides, hitting 22 aces compared to Carreño Busta’s 1.
“This is why we work so hard. It was tough for Pablo and me. I was pretty nervous with it being the first time for both of us on the sport’s most famous stage.”
“I’m over the moon. I’m happy to have another shot,” added the 32nd-ranked Anderson.
After winning the match on his serve, Anderson climbed over a flower pot and into the stands to hug his wife, Kelsey, and others in his player’s box.
“I don’t know if the team hug was appropriate after the semi-finals, but it felt like the right thing to do,” he said.
At 32 in the world he is the lowest-ranked men’s singles finalist at the US Open since the rankings began in 1973.
The 31-year-old will face either World No. 1 and two-time champion Rafael Nadal or 2009 winner Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday’s title match.
Anderson now holds a 3-0 against Carreño Busta, but he hasn’t had any success against his potential opponent in the final, Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro. Nadal leads Anderson 4-0 and del Potro leads Anderson 6-0.
“I have played both guys a few times,” said Anderson. “Nadal, I think, is one of the greatest competitors in sports. He’s an amazing fighter. You know, he really controls the court well, you know, the few times I have played him.
“I really need to be dominant and control proceedings as much as possible, because if you let him do it, it’s very difficult.
“You know, Juan, on the other side, different player. You know, his serve, he’s been serving very well, it looks like. He has a huge forehand. People have looked at his backhand since his injuries and stuff, but, you know, I think he’s done an amazing job.
Carreño Busta was asked if he thinks that Anderson has the game to beat either del Potro or Nadal. He said:” If he’s in the final, he can beat everyone. Of course if he play against Rafa, maybe Rafa will be the favorite, but if he play against Del Potro, I think both of players are be able to win the tournament.”