Kevin Anderson reached his first Grand Slam semifinals after defeating American Sam Querrey in tough battle in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The South African, who was ranked 28th before the tournament, won 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 in a match that ended just before 8am SA time in front of a sparse crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York.
Anderson trailed 5-2 in the opening tie-breaker before collecting the next five points to claim victory.
He fought back from a 6-1 deficit in the second tie-breaker to move within a point of winning it at 8-7, before eventually succumbing to Querrey’s eighth set point.
The third set was more straightforward with Anderson breaking to move ahead 4-2, then serving it out, closing with a down-the-line forehand winner.
But there was more drama in the fourth set, 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.
Querrey didn’t win another point, with Anderson reeling off the last three to end the match after nearly three-and-a-half hours.
His win also means he is the first South African man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Wayne Ferreira’s appearance at the 2003 Australian Open.
The Johannesburg-born Anderson last came close to reaching this stage after a quarter-final run at the US Open in 2015.
“I felt in the second set, after being 6-1 down and the next minute it’s six-all, obviously a very tough point to lose that six-all point. I don’t want to play too many points like that,” Anderson said after the game.
“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 tiebreak 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.”
Next up in the last four is another tough match against Argentinian Spanish 12th seed, Pablo Carreño Busta. Carreño Busta advanced with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No 29 Diego Schwartzman.
Anderson now trails Querrey 8-7 in head-to-head encounters on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour. – Additional reporting by Reuters