Sam Querrey had a chance to become the first American male to reach a U.S. Open semifinal since Andy Roddick in 2006, but he fell to Kevin Anderson, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-3, 7-6 (7), in a contest that ended at 1:51 a.m.
Anderson (28) had little time to digest his achievement post-match, but is determined that he does not plateau, with a fixture against fellow first-time semi-finalist Pablo Carreno-Busta to come.
Anderson is the first South African to make it to the US Open semis in the Open era. "Losing the second set was really tough but I played each point at a time and it paid big dividends for me today (Tuesday)".
Anderson trailed 5-2 in the opening tie-breaker before collecting the next five points to claim it, and then fought back from a 6-1 deficit in the second breaker to move within a point of winning it himself at 8-7, before eventually succumbing on Querrey's eighth set point.
Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta said playing in the shadow of Rafael Nadal, his country's most celebrated player, has helped to keep the pressure off him as he has quietly advanced to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open.
"Of course if you speak with some Spanish people about tennis, everybody knows Rafa".
Not since Wayne Ferreira at the 2003 Australian Open has a South African made the last four at a Slam, while Cliff Drysdale in 1965 was the last man to do so in NY, when the tournament was still amateur.
"I think I will let myself enjoy it for the next day".
Carreno Busta, 26, is yet to drop a set at the tournament and is the highest-ranked man left in the bottom half of the draw.
"I just try to learn about how he practices, what he does after practise, before practise, after matches, before matches".
"It gave some of the guys an opportunity, you know, to go deep into the tournament".
"At the beginning of the week, if you said I would have made quarters, I probably would have signed up for that". "I had my opportunities and I did not capitalise on them".
"To play in one of the most famous courts in the world at night and to get through, it feels fantastic", said Anderson. "Only one guy can go through, and Kevin's pretty tough".