Big-serving Anderson beats Carreno Busta, takes big step into U.S. Open final

Helen Elliott, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Tennis

NEW YORK -- Kevin Anderson, a South Africa native who played tennis at the University of Illinois and lives in Florida, got off to a slow start in his U.S. Open semifinal against Pablo Carreno Busta Friday but gradually gained strength and earned a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory to advance to Sunday's men's final.

Anderson's opponent on Sunday will be the winner of Friday's second semifinal between world No. 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain and No. 24 seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. It will be the first Grand Slam final for Anderson, who has been plagued by hip, leg and elbow injuries this year and retired in the fourth round of the French Open because of a thigh problem.

Anderson, who stands 6-foot-8, was seeded No. 28 here and Carreno Busta was seeded 12th.

Anderson, 31, initially seemed unnerved by the occasion Friday and was far from his best in the first set. The games were short, and Anderson made several errors in the seventh game that allowed Carreno Busta to break his serve and take a 4-3 lead and eventually win the set.

Anderson began to move around the court more easily in the second set, supplementing his powerful serve. Anderson broke Carreno Busta's serve for a 3-1 lead, but the Spaniard broke back to cut Anderson's lead to 3-2 and then held serve to tie the set at 3-3. Anderson broke Carreno Busta's serve in the 12th game and won the set on a backhand winner. That was the first set Carreno Busta had lost in six matches here.

Anderson's big serve was a big boost in the third set, allowing him to hold for 5-2 and to win the set on his third set point. Carreno Busta battled gamely in the fourth set, holding serve in a hard-fought ninth game to trim Anderson's lead to 5-4 but Anderson served for the match and clinched the berth in the final when Carreno Busta hit a forehand into the net.

Carreno Busta had enjoyed a relatively easy path to the semifinals, playing four qualifiers before he faced No. 29 seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals and earned a straight-set victory.

Anderson has a 0-4 career record against Nadal and a 0-6 record against del Potro.

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