Kevin Anderson made it through to his first ATP Tour semi-final in 21 months at the Erste Bank Open, an ATP 500 event in Vienna on Friday.
The former World No 5, appearing in Vienna for the first time since lifting the trophy in 2018, defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6(5) to earn his first top 10 win since the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals.
Anderson was impressive on serve throughout the 89-minute encounter. He won 83 per cent of first-serve points (34/41) and saved the only break point he faced.
"I am very, very pleased. I have waited a long time to play a match like this. It was very high quality, and I knew I had to play very well against Daniil to get through," said Anderson in an on-court interview.
The South African was appearing in his first quarter-final since undergoing a second right knee surgery on 19 February.
Anderson improves to 9-8 this season with his seventh straight victory in Vienna. Anderson’s return to the Austrian capital almost ended in the first round, when he saved three consecutive match points to beat Austrian Dennis Novak in a final-set tie-break.
"I love playing here," said Anderson.
"I have good memories from playing a couple of years ago. I was very disappointed not to be able to come back last year, but I am happy to be back here playing great tennis and I am really looking forward to my match tomorrow."
Anderson will face defending champion Dominic Thiem or Nitto ATP Finals contender Andrey Rublev for a spot in the final. The 6’8 right-hander owns a 7-2 ATP Head2Head record against Thiem and is tied at 1-1 against Rublev.
Medvedev was attempting to reach his first semi-final since last month’s US Open. The Russian won back-to-back matches for the first time since that event — against Jason Jung and Vasek Pospisil — to advance to the last eight in Vienna.
Anderson opened the match with an immediate break, as he rushed Medvedev with deep returns and capitalised on unforced errors. The 34-year-old stepped inside the baseline to finish rallies with his forehand and dropped just three first-serve points to take the first set.
Anderson was unable to convert four break points at the start of the second set, but he kept his composure on serve to reach a second-set tie-break. The 2018 champion played with consistency from the baseline to earn three match points and extracted a backhand error from his opponent on his third match point to claim victory.
"Right from the beginning, I felt very good about my game and obviously [I knew] it was going to be tough," said Anderson.
"I couldn’t be happier right now to be through to the semi-finals. Obviously, the job is not done. but I just want to take a moment to appreciate the work that has gone in for me to play a match like this."
- Tennis SA