Kevin Anderson fought back to beat Pablo Carreno Busta at the US Open to become South Africa’s first Grand Slam singles finalist in more than 30 years after defeating Pablo 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 in New York.
The world number 32 also became the lowest-ranked men’s singles finalist at the US Open since the rankings began in 1973 according to BBC Sports.
His strong serve during the match was the key as he played aces after aces, winners after winners overwhelming his teenage opponent.
The 31-year-old will face Spanish world number one Rafael Nadal who defeated Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the second fixture of the Semi-finals.
Anderson, born in Johannesburg in May 1986 follows in the footsteps of Kevin Curren, who reached the 1985 Wimbledon final three months after becoming a naturalised US citizen, and Johan Kriek, who made the US Open final in 1980.
Both men were playing in their first Grand Slam semi-final after coming through a bottom half of the draw that provided an opportunity as soon as second seed Andy Murray succumbed to injury on the eve of the tournament.
Anderson had never gone beyond the fourth round in more than a dozen appearances at Grand Slam events.
He was knocked out at Wimbledon in 2014, 2015 and this year in the fourth round. He also suffered the same fate in Australian Open in 2013-15. It was the same story at Roland Garros, where he could not proceed beyond the fourth round in 2013, 2014 and this year.
He became the top-ranked male South African player on 10 March 2008 after making the final at the 2008 Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas.
He achieved his career-high ranking of World No. 10 on 12 October 2015. He is the first South African to be ranked in the top 10 since Wayne Ferreira was No. 10 on 5 May 1997.
And now he has achieved what no other African has ever achieved by making the US Open final.
“These Grand Slams are tough, we are playing with some of the best players in history and it is nice that they gave us a run,” said the South African.
“It was an unbelievably tough match on one of the biggest stages in tennis. My emotion at the end kind of summed it up.”
In the female category, Sloane Stephens, who became the first American woman besides the Williams sisters to reach the US Open semifinals since 2004 defeated Venus Williams 6-1 0-6 7-5 in the semi-final on Thursday, to make her first Grand Slam final.
Stephens, who returned to competition at Wimbledon after nearly a year off because of a foot injury, recovered from a second-set meltdown to end ninth seed Williams’s hopes of reaching a third major final this year.
Photo Credit: @KAndersonATP