Kevin Anderson moved into his first Grand Slam semifinal at age 31, emerging from a back-and-forth showdown between big servers to beat Sam Querrey 7-6 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-3, 7-6 (7) at the U.S. Open. The 28th-seeded Anderson, a South African, is appearing in his 34th major tournament. His victory against the 17th-seeded Querrey concluded a little before 2 a.m. on Wednesday in front of a sparse crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium - and it did not come easily.
"Getting through - it just feels absolutely fantastic," Anderson said.
The 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson finished with 22 aces; the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey hit 20.
Anderson trailed 5-2 in the opening tiebreaker before collecting the next five points to claim it. He fought back from a 6-1 deficit in the second tiebreaker to move within a point of winning it himself at 8-7, before eventually succumbing on Querrey's eighth set point.
"That," Anderson said, "was really tough."
The third set was more straightforward with Anderson breaking to go ahead 4-2, then serving it out, closing with a down-the-line forehand winner. But there was more drama in the fourth, when Querrey fought off a match point at 6-5, then held a set point at 7-6 with a chance to send it to a fifth.
But Querrey wouldn't win another point, with Anderson reeling off the last three to end the match after nearly 3 1/2 hours.
Querrey was attempting to become the first American man to reach the final four at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick was the runner-up in 2006.
Querrey, a 29-year-old from California, had never been a semifinalist at a major until his 42nd appearance, at Wimbledon in July. That set a record for most attempts by a man before getting that far in the Open era, which began in 1968.
In Friday's semifinals, Anderson will take on 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. The winner of that match will reach his first Grand Slam final.
Carreno Busta advanced Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 29 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.