9 September 2017

South Africa: History-Making Anderson Roars Into U.S. Open Final

Photo: si.robi
Kevin Anderson faces an uphill battle against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal at Flushing Meadows, New York, on Sunday.

Kevin Anderson became the first South African to reach the US Open final in the Open era and his reward is a match against world No1 Rafael Nadal on Sunday in New York.

Anderson reached the first Grand Slam final of his career after beating 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4, while Nadal will play for his third US Open title after streaking past Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2.

Ranked 28th, Anderson is the lowest ranked player to make a US Open final in the Open era.

Overcome with joy, Anderson climbed up to his supporters' box to embrace his coach, SA's Neville Godwin, and wife, Kelsey.

'I really don't know what to say right now,' admitted Anderson in his on-court interview. 'I don't know if the team hug is appropriate for the semis, but it felt the right thing to do.

'These Grand Slams are tough. We're privileged to play with some of the best players to ever play the game. It's nice some of them gave us a shot to make a run. This is why we work so hard. It was an unbelievably tough match for me.

'It was the first time for both of us on one of the most famous stages in tennis. I really had to dig deep, I think my emotion at the end summed it up. I'm over the moon right now. I've given myself a shot and I'll allow myself tonight to celebrate this win.'

It is a remarkable opportunity for Anderson, who dropped to No80 in the ATP rankings earlier this year after being forced to miss the Australian Open with a hip injury.

But his hard work and perseverance, coupled with a new aggression and more intense demeanour on the court, paid dividends over the summer as he gradually found his form.

Racing around the court and attacking off the ground with authority, Nadal secured his place in a fourth US Open final after 2hr 30min. After dropping the opening set, Nadal sprinted to the finish line with a clinical performance, striking 45 winners, to just 20 unforced errors.

In total, Nadal will bid for a 16th Grand Slam title in what will be his fifth meeting with Anderson. He leads 4-0, with just one set lost. The Spaniard's last hard-court title came in Doha in 2014.

'After a couple of years of tough moments, it has been an emotional year,' Nadal said.

'But being back on this amazing court and in front of this amazing crowd, and having the chance to fight for this title is amazing for me.'

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