Anderson Stuns Murray For First Slam QF
Kevin Anderson breaks fourth-round hoodoo in eighth attempt
Kevin Anderson is through to his first Grand Slam quarter-final after derailing 2012 champion Andy Murray 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(0) under lights at the US Open on Monday night. The big-serving South African notched his first upset of a Top-10 player at a major in his 16th attempt with the two-hour, 17-minute victory over the World No. 3.
“I felt I played one of the best matches of my career,” said Anderson. “To do it at this stage, at this round, to get through to the quarters the first time in a Grand Slam definitely means a lot to me.”
Seven times before Anderson had fallen in the fourth round in Slam play. This was just his second win over the Scot in seven encounters and his aggressive tactics showed. He clocked 25 aces and won 41 of 58 points at net. He outhit Murray in the winners department, 81-49, but committed 57 unforced errors to the typically consistent Scot’s 20.
“It goes way back to my preparations,” said Anderson. “I've got a great team behind me, from my coach to my fitness trainers, my physical trainers. I've been working with a sports psychologist, as well. I think that's been a big benefit for me, just being more comfortable in these big positions. Today it feels good to take a little step and actually beat one of the best guys in the world in the fourth round of a Slam.”
Murray was bidding to reach his 19th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final (he missed the 2013 French Open due to injury). He had reached the quarter-finals or better the past five years and was coming off a solid build-up, having won the ATP Masters 1000 title in Montreal and reaching the semi-finals in the Cincinnati ATP Masters 1000.
But after losing his opening two matches of the Emirates US Open Series and falling in the third round in Cincinnati over the US summer swing, Anderson had also worked his way into form, winning the title in Winston-Salem. With his win the Johannesburg native becomes the first South African to reach the US Open quarter-finals since Wayne Ferreira in 1992.
Staring down a straight-sets dismissal, Murray secured the first mini-break of the third set tie-break when Anderson pulled a forehand long for 2/1, before consolidating for 4/1 with an unreturnable serve out wide. He took the set with an ace out wide on his first opportunity for 7/2 and was forced to fend off two break points down 1-2 in the fourth.
Heading into a third tie-break for the match, it was Anderson who bolted out of the blocks, cracking a forehand service return winner crosscourt to surge to 3/0. He made it 5/0 with an ace down the T and when Murray missed wide he had six match points. Anderson took the match on his first chance, ripping a forehand at Murray’s feet.
“I was definitely feeling it in terms of fatigue,” said Anderson. “It was a very physical match. I was trying to balance conserving energy but at the same time showing some emotion. I felt at least I found a good balance there. Maybe I wasn't ecstatic, all sorts of jumping up and down, but inside I definitely found a really good balance.”
He will meet No. 5 seed Stan Wawrinka next, a player he leads 4-3 in their FedEx Head2Head series, having claimed their past four encounters.