NEW YORK — Kevin Anderson moved into his first Grand Slam semifinal at age 31, emerging from a back-and-forth showdown between big servers to beat Sam Querrey 7-6 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-3, 7-6 (7) at the U.S. Open.

“I’ve put in a lot of work, so it feels good to reach a milestone I haven’t before,” said the 28th-seeded Anderson, a South African appearing in his 34th major tournament.

His victory against the 17th-seeded Querrey concluded a little before 2 a.m. on Wednesday in front of a sparse crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium — and it did not come easily.

“Getting through — it just feels absolutely fantastic,” Anderson said.

The 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson finished with 22 aces; the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey hit 20.

Anderson trailed 5-2 in the opening tiebreaker before collecting the next five points to claim it. He fought back from a 6-1 deficit in the second tiebreaker to move within a point of winning it himself at 8-7, before eventually succumbing on Querrey’s eighth set point.

“That,” Anderson said, “was really tough.”

The third set was more straightforward with Anderson breaking to go ahead 4-2, then serving it out, closing with a down-the-line forehand winner. But there was more drama in the fourth, 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.

But Querrey wouldn’t win another point, with Anderson reeling off the last three to end the match after nearly 3 1/2 hours.

“Against him, it’s just a couple of points here or there,” Anderson said about Querrey, who beat him at Wimbledon in July. “Tonight was my night.”

Querrey was attempting to become the first American man to reach the final four at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick was the runner-up in 2006.

Querrey, a 29-year-old from California, had never been a semifinalist at a major until his 42nd appearance, at Wimbledon in July. That set a record for most attempts by a man before getting that far in the Open era, which began in 1968.

In Friday’s semifinals, Anderson will take on 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. The winner of that match will reach his first Grand Slam final.

Carreno Busta advanced Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 29 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

“This is new ground for both of us,” Anderson said. “There will be adjustments we’ll both have to make.”


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HOWARD FENDRICH
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