Kevin Anderson came into Monday's U.S. Open match having beaten Andy Murray only once in six tries. He was 0-7 in fourth-round matches at the majors and apparently, this Murray fellow has quite a bit of pedigree when it comes to Open victories.
But you don't make it eight years on tour without a little bit of tenacity . . . or, in the case of last night's victory over the third-seeded Murray that lasted more than four hours, a whole lot of it.
The 15th-seeded Anderson, who advanced to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, took a two-set lead, stumbled against Murray's poise and big-match experience, but eventually held on to knock off the Scot, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (0) in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
"It's tough to describe how I'm feeling," Anderson said. "I felt it was one of the best matches of my career . . . I tried to focus on the basics as much as I could . . . When there is so much, you can easily get caught up and I was definitely feeling it in terms of fatigue."
Anderson moves on to face French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
"I'm more disappointed in myself," said Murray, who was dealt his earliest Grand Slam exit since 2010 (he won the Open in 2012). "I felt like I had my opportunities and didn't manage to capitalize on them and when you're playing someone as good as him, it's tough."
Much like his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino, Murray was on his heels early. Anderson broke Murray's serve in the first set to send it to a tiebreak, which he won, 7-5. The South African had a much easier go of it in the second set . . . until set point, that is. Anderson squandered four before finally landing the finishing blow -- a booming ace up the middle of the court.
"It's a tough match and that court is a lot quicker than ," Murray said. "I felt that I was on the back foot quite a lot. I wasn't able to play that offensively."
Murray still proved undeniably stubborn. Anderson had six aces in the third set, but the duo again went to a tiebreak, where Murray took a 2-1 lead when Anderson hit a shot long and never trailed thereafter.
Murray sent the fourth set to a tiebreak on another ace (he had 19 to Anderson's 25) but that was all he could muster. At times he looked frustrated and fatigued as the match marched to four hours, 18 minutes. Anderson went up 2-0 when Murray's return hit the net, scored the next point on a forehand that landed just inside the baseline, and all but sealed it when his volley skimmed the net, causing Murray to overhit it on the return.