Day 9. Quarterfinals. Kevin Anderson

Andy Taylor. Sports Host. 2017 US Open. Quarterfinal. Day-9. Kevin Anderson defeats Sam Querrey

Sports Host. Andy Taylor. The Voice of the US Open

Kevin Anderson def Sam Querrey 76(5) 67(9) 63 76(7)

It bears repeating: Like anything else in life, tennis is about seizing opportunity. Andy Murray. Novak Djokovic. Stan Wawrinka. Kei Nishoikori. Milos Raonic. Prior to the start of the season’s final Major, five of the sport’s top-11 players were absent from the field. Factor in the typical list of Slam upsets — new faces were inevitable come week-2.

Welcome to the 2017 US Open, where Kevin Anderson is a Grand Slam Semifinalist

Not to discredit Kevin’s remarkable accomplishments in 2017…he’s had a tremendous comeback from injuries that delayed the start of his season. After 4th-Round runs at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, he reached his 12th career Final in Washington D.C., defeating Dominic Thiem and Jack Sock en-route to the championship match. He plowed through his first four unseeded opponents in Flushing, losing only a single tiebreak-set to Paolo Lorenzi. Thanks to circumstance and his own consistency, opportunity’s door stood wide open for a career-best Grand Slam run. All he needed to do was step through it.

Standing in the way: Sam Querrey

Also a benefactor of top-ranked absence at this year’s Open, most would argue Sam Querrey’s season has been even more impressive than Kevin’s comeback. Querrey has defeated four top-10 players this year alone, including a victory over World #1 Andy Murray at Wimbledon to reach his first-ever Grand Slam Semifinal. This was a chance to make it two in a row, in his Home Slam Quarterfinal debut.

The two played twice in the past two months. A few weeks back, Kevin dominated Sam in Montreal’s Round of 16. At Wimbledon, Querrey defeated Anderson in a 5-set thriller that set-up Sam’s remarkable victory over Andy Murray. Tuesday’s rubber match would become a battle of duplicate tactics: Serve big and sort it out in the tiebreak.

And that they did

Kevin Anderson earned the early edge with a 7-5 win in set-1’s tiebreak. Both earned service-breaks in the second, before Querrey turned the match into a best-of-three, earning the breaker 11-9. In set-3, Anderson scored his second break of the match to go up 4-2, then served-out the set. And of course, again in set-4 both held through the tiebreak — where Kevin emerged the winner, 9-7 on his second match point.

An absolute ace fest

Both players served over 20 aces, but Sam could only find two break opportunities in the entire 3-and-half hour match. He converted one. Kevin managed six break chances and converted two. That was the difference – just four additional moments of opportunity for Anderson.

So now, the stage is set for Semifinal #1 on Friday. It will be Kevin Anderson and Pablo Carreno Busta, both making their Major Semifinal debuts.