Kevin Anderson Beats Pablo Carreno Busta to Reach US Open Final
(September 8, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Kevin Anderson became the first South African to reach a New York final since Cliff Drydale in 1965, when he knocked out 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the US Open final on Friday.
The 31-year-old Anderson, at 32 in the world, will become the will become the lowest-ranked man to play for the US Open title since the ATP rankings began back in 1973.
The Spaniard came into the match without having lost a set in the tournament. It looked like it would continue when he won the first set 6-4, making only one unforced error in the set to Anderson’s 12.
In the second set, Anderson made fewer errors, but became more aggressive. The South African who played college tennis for Illinois, broke serve in the fourth game to lead 3-1, but the lead was short-lived when Carreno Busta broke back.
The Spaniard saved two break points in the eighth game to hold for 4-4. With Carreno Busta serving at 5-6, 30-30, he hit a double fault which gave the South African a set point. Anderson made the most of his opportunity, nailing a backhand winner to take the set 7-5 and level the match.
Anderson amplified up his aggressiveness on the court, charging the net at any opportunity, broke serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. Held on for the set 6-3.
In the fourth set, Anderson became more aggressive on his forehand and approaching the net. It paid off in the fifth game, to break Carreno Busta for a 3-2 lead. Anderson had a chance to break for the match in the ninth game but his opponent held strong. Anderson closed the match out on his serve 4-6, 7-4, 6-3, 6-4.
“I thought the beginning of the match, I felt a little bit nervous,” Anderson said. “You know, I have to say I felt my shots weren’t as penetrating as I wanted them to be. I felt like I let him control the court quite well.
“But even after the end of the first set, I realized, while I hadn’t made too many inroads on his serve games, I played a few points that those were the kind of points that I was looking to play. That one serve game that I got broke in the first, I made a couple of errors. I knew if I sort of tidied that up on my side, I was right in the match.
“I definitely felt as the match progressed, I felt more and more comfortable. I was able to go after my shots more. I was able to control the court a bit more, not let him dictate so much. Definitely started making a lot more returns.
“Even though there was only one break in the fourth, I had a couple long serve games, you know, when he was serving and I could maybe sneak that double break.
“I knew it was a tough match going in. Pablo has had a great year. We played each other a few weeks ago in Montreal. He’s so consistent from the baseline. He doesn’t give you a whole lot.
“He’s coming into the match with a lot of confidence. I knew from my side, it was really important to try and control the court as much as possible. And I thought I was able to do that well, especially as the match went on.”
“I really don’t know what to say right now,” Anderson said in his ESPN on-court interview. “It’s been a long road. These Grand Slams are tough.”
“We’ve been privileged to play with some of the best to play the game, it was nice of them to give us a shot at this tournament!”
“This is why we work so hard. It was an unbelievably tough match for me. This was the first time for both of us.”
“At end of last year, I was told I probably need to have surgery on my hip. Here I am nine months later. It means the world to me.”
“I think it was really good match, no?,” said Carreno Busta. “Plays really good. Maybe at the beginning he did a lot of mistakes, but I play aggressive, too. So I think the first set was very good for me.
“But then he start to play more aggressive, to serve really good, and to return my serve all the time and when I dipped a little bit, he made me break. But after that, I break back, and then with 6-5 maybe was the key of the match when I made the double fault in 30-All.
“Then in the third set, maybe I lost the way a little bit. He start to play really good. He playing very focused on all his serve, and his way, and, well, probably in the third set, I tried to be good. I think I play very good again.
“He was playing with confidence, was very good, and he was more aggressive than me. Congrats to him, because we played very good match.”
“Definitely amazing feeling being in this position and have worked very hard to get here. It feels great to be in the stage I’m in,” Anderson said to media.
“More important, have given myself a shot at being in the finals and, you know, I will be playing for a Grand Slam trophy. That’s an amazing feeling. I have to get ready. Still obviously a very difficult match ahead of me, but I think right now I’m just trying to unwind a little bit and just enjoy sort of today’s match.”
Anderson will try to win his first major title against No. 1 Rafael Nadal who beat No. 24 seed Juan Martin del Potro in four sets.
Carreno 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.”
“I have played both guys a few times,” said Anderson. “Nadal’s, I think, one of the greatest competitors in sports, period. 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.”
— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) September 9, 2017