In the first major quarterfinal of his life, Kevin Anderson looked like he needed another day of rest.
The 29-year-old South African seemed a step slower and a shot behind the Swiss star across from him, Stan Wawrinka, a two-time major champion playing in his 11th major quarterfinal. As a result, Anderson’s celebrated quarterfinal contest was over quickly. In less than two hours, Wawrinka rolled, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.
Kevin Anderson in action against Stan Wawrinka in a men’s singles quarterfinal match.
Picture credit: USTA/Pete Staples
“For sure the best match of the tournament for me. I was really happy the way I play,” Wawrinka said.
Anderson, the No. 15 seed, started the match with his tank on low, if not empty. He had spent a tournament-high four hours and 18 minutes on court Monday, beating No. 3 seed Andy Murray in four grueling sets, 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6. The emotional contest was Anderson’s first major breakthrough in 27 majors.
Against Murray, Anderson had hung with the Brit during rallies, combating one of the game’s finest baseliners. But against Wawrinka, Anderson sought to limit rallies and end points quickly. He tried get his usual tally of free points off his serve, hitting 12 aces, and he also sought to serve and volley. But the South African struggled to land his first serve, making only 57 percent of his attempts. Wawrinka then feasted on the second serve of Anderson, who won only 37 percent of those points.
Anderson also hit nine double faults, including at least two on break points, helping Wawrinka break him five times.
When Anderson did land his first serve, Wawrinka often picked it up cleanly and struck deep returns that kept Anderson behind the baseline. Wawrinka kept him there with a mixture of skidding backhand slices that stayed low, forcing the 6-foot-8 Anderson to crouch and take a few extra steps.
“I was trying to be really aggressive on the return and make him play a mix or some slice, some aggressive play from the baseline,” Wawrinka said.
Other times, Wawrinka would push Anderson side to side, forcing the big man to lumber more steps than he cared to take.
Anderson ended the match with 42 unforced errors compared to Wawrinka’s 15. During the 25-minute third set, Anderson won just five points.
“Obviously wasn’t meant to be today. Stan didn’t make it easy. He was taking time, I felt, away from me. He was swinging out, and, you know, I was just a step slow,” Anderson said. “It’s a very tough lesson for me today and, you know, it’s difficult not to think about it, but obviously I have got to take what I can. This week has been a great week for me, the last two weeks. There is a lot of positives.”
Wawrinka reaches his second US
Open semifinal in three years. He will face his Swiss countryman Roger Federer in a rematch of their French Open semifinal. Wawrinka won that match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.
The two have played 19 times lifetime, though, and Wawrinka has won just three of them. Federer looked perhaps better than ever against Richard Gasquet of France on Wednesday, but against Anderson, Wawrinka submitted his finest match in New York this year as well.
Anderson leaves the greatest major of his life, and hopefully more people know his name. A CNN headline earlier this week referred to him as “unknown.” Now he’s a Grand Slam quarterfinalist.
By Jonathon Braden usopen.org
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
S. WAWRINKA/K. Anderson
6-4, 6-4, 6-0
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What are your sentiments after that one?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was really tough out there. Was maybe a little bit nervous just with the occasion and a lot of waiting around, switching courts. Obviously something that you deal with, but just getting out there and everything seemed to be going pretty quickly.
I thought conditions were, you know, quite quick and quite live, especially compared to my last match out there. One poor serve game in the first set and I wasn’t really making too many inroads on his serve.
I thought I sort of got it back a little bit in the start of the second set. Another poor serve game, and then things sort of went downhill a little bit.
I mean, after taking the — changing my clothes and having that bathroom break, I was just trying to compose myself and reset myself. I didn’t feel, you know, that out of sorts, but going back it sort of snowballed a little bit.
He started free flying, swinging, and I was trying to find my way a little bit. Obviously it was not a good one to be in.
Q. Did you struggle to come up after the defeat of Andy? Any letdown factor there?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Not really.
KEVIN ANDERSON: No. I felt fine. Obviously it was a big moment for me, but I felt I did a good job of resetting myself and getting ready for this next match.
But just obviously wasn’t meant to be today. Stan didn’t make it easy. He was taking time, I felt, away from me. He was swinging out, and, you know, I was just a step slow. Wasn’t going to bode well. I needed to be on top of my game today.
Q. Did it feel like he was on some sort of a mission the way he was playing?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think he stuck to his guns and what he needed to do. He did that very well.
You know, I can’t talk especially for how he felt, but obviously he did what he needed to do today. As I said earlier, he’s a very experienced player, especially at this level. He knows what it takes.
You know, it’s a very tough lesson for me today and, you know, it’s difficult not to think about it, but obviously I have got to take what I can. This week has been a great week for me, the last two weeks. There is a lot of positives.
I always try to look at that to obviously keep motivated and keep improving.
Q. That is the point, though. I mean, you have made that breakthrough. You finally got into the quarterfinals and knocking on the top 10 door. So those are the big positives for you to keep going with confidence?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, that’s what I’ve got to look at. It’s not that easy to do right now obviously just because of, you know, just the way I felt out there. It just really wasn’t my day.
But, you know, it’s the thinking that I’ve just got to take those feelings that I have had, the way I have played throughout the last few weeks, especially in my round of 16 to beat Andy there, and used it as extra motivation to give myself another chance.
I definitely know I can do better than I did today.
Q. Did you start the season with the goal of breaking the quarterfinal mark in mind and was there any other goals that you had going into…
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was definitely on my mind. I had been in the round of 16 a few times and put myself in that position a few times even this year.
My goal is always to give myself opportunities. I was able to capitalize on one of them, big one, getting to the quarters in this event. That’s definitely something I can take with me.
So, yes, it was a goal. It was a goal to put myself in this position through the quarters and then obviously take it from there, one step at a time. I was able to achieve that. I want to put myself in this position again, because as I was saying, I think just today I didn’t feel like I gave myself the best shot of maybe going a little bit further.
Q. Talk about the sportsmanship award. What does that mean to you?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was great. I mean, I didn’t expect it. Nobody had mentioned anything. I’m very, you know, honored to receive that and to be acknowledged with that. I always try my best to, you know, behave the best I can out there.
You know, especially for the many people coming to watch and always been very appreciative of their efforts, especially, you know, the younger boys and girls who come here with high aspirations. I remember when I was in that position.
So to be recognized, I have always tried to do that throughout my whole career. It’s the first time I have actually officially been recognized this way, so I guess that’s a nice little ending for me.
Q. Stan’s attempt at the SABR tactic on return of your serve, what are your thoughts about it? What might we see, do you think, between Stan and Roger?
KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah. I mean, definitely didn’t start out like that, but, I mean, towards the end I think when you’re in that position obviously gives you a bit more freedom in terms of what he was doing.
You know, I think it will be an interesting matchup in terms of those sort of tactics, taking pretty aggressive second serve cuts. Definitely probably expect to see a few. Seems to be pretty consistent. So, you know, we will just have to wait and see.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports